Tourists dive for cover as gunmen open fire in city pub
Published 01/09/2014 | 02:30
Gunmen burst in and shot two men attending a Christening party in a pub packed with American tourists.
The owner of Oil Can Harry's in Dublin city centre said he screamed "Get down" at families after seeing men wearing balaclavas rush into the bar.
Tim O'Connor told the Irish Independent: "There was absolute panic.
"The pub was full of Americans over for the game in Croke Park who were in having food and drinks."
The innocent victims, named locally as Niall Augusta (19), from Lombard Court, and Lee Ryan (20), from Markievicz House in Dublin, were both hit by shots from an automatic pistol.
The men, who were in the pub for a Christening party, were still being treated in St Vincent's hospital last night, but their injuries are not life-threatening.
One sustained minor injuries when he was hit by a bullet in the side, while the other suffered a more serious wound when he was shot in the stomach.
Neither victim is involved in crime, nor do they have any criminal convictions.
Mr O'Connor said his well-respected South Dublin premises had never witnessed any crime, and is a finalist in the upcoming Pub of the Year competition.
The two masked men arrived at the pub around 10pm on Saturday and Mr O'Connor said they spent around two minutes running through the crowds before one of them opened fire.
They escaped in a dark-coloured hatchback car in the direction of Ballsbridge.
Gardai have recovered extensive high-quality images from the pub's CCTV system, and are also gathering more CCTV footage from other premises.
Sources believe that the two innocent men were shot in a case of mistaken identity and that the intended target had been in the pub earlier.
"This was not a random act, the CCTV footage of the incident shows that the gunmen involved were on a mission," a source said last night.
The pub was bustling with up to 100 patrons when the two men entered through the front door.
One stood covering the door while the second went through the bar to a pool room at the rear of the premises.
It is understood that he shot the first of his victims, who was playing at a pool table, and then went to leave. However, he turned around and returned to the pool room where he again opened fire, shooting the second man. Gardai believe up to three shots were fired in all.
Gardai said that three men, including a getaway driver, were involved in the attack. Investigators are awaiting forensic reports to see if the weapon had been used in any other crimes.
Yesterday, detectives were sifting through footage from inside the bar and traffic cameras on the streets in a bid to identify the make of car used. Officers were also interviewing everyone who was in the bar.
"The gunman was obviously looking for someone and seemed relaxed and sure of what he was doing.
"It was a particularly brazen attack as the pub was packed at the time," said a source.