TWO gardai wrestled a gunman to the ground moments after he pointed a loaded sawn-off shotgun at another man.
Garda Nathan Foley and Gda Donal O'Donovan were hailed as heroes after preventing a possible murder.
The uniformed officers were unarmed when they responded to reports of burnt-out cars in Crumlin in Dublin.
They discovered chaotic scenes at Rutland Grove where a fight had broken out early yesterday.
"We could easily have been dealing with a murder if it was not for the actions of these very brave gardai," a source said.
"They deserve a reward for what they did – it really was very brave and effective police work."
At a residential street the gardai were told that a man had pointed a gun out of the bottom of a bag at another man.
Gda O'Donovan approached the suspect and wrestled him to the ground before managing to secure the bag with the help of his colleague.
The 48-year-old was wearing rubber gloves and had two rounds of ammunition in his pocket.
He was taken to Sundrive Road garda station where he was still being questioned last night.
The brave officers have earned the praise of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
The arrested suspect is said to have been friendly with convicted killer and drug dealer Abraham Turner, of Cherry Grove, Walkinstown.
In July, 2004, Turner (46) was jailed for 10 years for possession of heroin.
Following yesterday's arrest, a garda spokesman said: "Uniformed gardai, investigating a criminal damage incident at Rutland Grove observed an altercation between a number of males. One of the males was arrested when observed by gardai to be in possession of a firearm, which was seized."
The incident has led to an increase of tensions in the Crumlin area.
Twelve hours earlier, well-known criminal Martin 'The Viper' Foley acted as an unlikely peacemaker when around 16 thugs armed with hurleys began brawling in nearby Cashel Avenue.
Detectives have not ruled out a link between the two incidents.
By Ken Foy