Friday 18 August 2017

'There were bullets in different direction, anyone could have been hurt' - gardaí investigating 'outrageous' suspected feud shooting

Gardai investigate the shooting of a man at the Topaz filling station at Clonshaugh near Dublin airport. Picture: Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate the shooting of a man at the Topaz filling station at Clonshaugh near Dublin airport. Picture: Arthur Carron
Gardai at scene at Topaz filling station, off N1/N32 junction.
Scene of the shooting in north Dublin.
Gardai at scene at Topaz filling station, off N1/N32 junction.
Gardai at scene at Topaz filling station, off N1/N32 junction.

Cathal McMahon and Ian Begley

Gardaí investigating today's shooting at a busy filling station have said innocent bystanders could have been injured as "there were bullets in different directions".

The attack happened at the Topaz petrol station in Clonshaugh, North Dublin at approximately 1.35pm.

The victim of today’s shooting is a well-known associate of the Hutch crime gang and was previously closely linked to the Kinahan mob.

The 30-year-old was shot a number of times and is understood to have been wearing a bullet-proof vest which may have saved his life.

Superintendent Finbarr Murphy of Ballymun garda station told reporters today that the victim was "shot a number of [times] in through the window as he was sitting in the front seat of his car" after being approached by a car.

He said he remains in critical condition in hospital.

Emergency services at the Topaz filling station, off N1/N32 junction, Dublin.
Emergency services at the Topaz filling station, off N1/N32 junction, Dublin.

“He was shot a number of times. He’s still in hospital and hasn’t gotten the full medical report," Superintendent Murphy said.

“He was shot in the upper body and neck.

“What makes it more outrageous is that it was a sunny afternoon at 1.30pm. There were bullets in different directions. Any innocent person could have been injured in this attack.

“We’re carrying out a full investigation into it as to who committed it and our full investigation team is in operation at the moment.

“It was busy [in the forecourt]. It was lunch time and I say there would have been 60 – 70 people present when the attack occurred."

It is understood that the man was shot five times in the attack and had surgery this evening to have the bullet removed from his neck.

Gardai at scene at Topaz filling station, off N1/N32 junction
Gardai at scene at Topaz filling station, off N1/N32 junction

He is being treated in Beaumont Hospital.

Gardaí are now appealing for witnesses and anyone who may have dashcam footage to come forward.

“We are looking for an appeal in relation to the car involved in this which was a black Lexus – 08-D registration number - and we believe that car has been recovered burnt out in Ardee, Co Louth," Superintendent Murphy said.

“Our appeal is for anybody on the Clonshaugh Road in the filling station at around 1.30pm or anyone on the Clonshaugh roundabout who may have seen dangerous driving of a black Lexus car or anyone seen a car on the m50/N1 junction heading toward Ardee.

"We have spoken to people in the forecourt and in the shop and around the [Clayton] hotel. We’re appealing for anyone in the area at the time or anyone with a dashcam on their car or anyone who witnessed bad driving from an 08-D black Lexus [to come forward].

A formal interview of the victim has yet to take place.

One woman in the area told Independent.ie:

Gardai investigate the shooting of a man at the Topaz filling station at Clonshaugh near Dublin airport. Picture: Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate the shooting of a man at the Topaz filling station at Clonshaugh near Dublin airport. Picture: Arthur Carron

“I was just in the garage 30 minutes before it happened getting my lunch. I’m very shook up at how close I was and still can’t believe that something like this has happened."

“These people don’t care who’s around or what time of day it is. They’ll shoot anyone in their way.

“Thank God no one else was hurt.”

A witness to the shooting told RTE Radio One's Liveline that gardaí were on the scene within minutes.

"I was on the road and I heard 'bang, bang'," he said. "Next thing I heard ambulances and guards. Next thing the whole place was covered.

"I didn't see anyone," he continued.

"I just heard 'bang, bang' and people were running everywhere. There were guards everywhere. They were on the scene within two minutes."

This was not the first murder bid taken out against the victim of today's shooting. In recent months a hitman was hired to kill the north Dubliner but gardaí intervened before the attack took place.

His name has appeared on a hit-list and gardaí have given him several warnings that his life is under threat. In response he has taken to wearing a bulletproof vest and now lives in Northern Ireland. He has refused offers of garda protection.

Originally from Dublin’s north inner city the shooting victim was a childhood friend of Gary Hutch - the first victim of the feud which has already claimed 11 lives.

He was questioned by gardaí over at least three murders including the gangland killing of Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne in April 2010, Ray Collins in November 2006, and Aidan Byrne in February 2010. He was not charged in connection with any of these killings.

Today’s attack was not the first attempt on his life. In September 2008 he was shot in the leg during an unrelated attack.

In 2009 he was arrested by gardaí investigating the College Green Bank of Ireland theft. Cash worth €7.6m was taken from the bank after a horror tiger kidnapping.

The shooting victim was later released without charge.

Following the murder of his close friend Gary hutch in September 2015 this man sided with the Hutch faction and was considered one of their most senior figures. He was suspected of playing a key role in the Regency hotel shooting in February 2016.

Since then he has lived a life on the run and is a regular target of the Kinahan gang.

Sources say he is a father-of-two and his partner runs a well-respected business in Dublin’s North Inner city.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News