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Sunday 18 February 2018

Capital's latest gun attack victim refusing to cooperate with gardaí

  • Shooting victim refusing to help Garda inquiry
  • Graham 'Choco' Byrne hit in leg when gunman fired up to eight shots outside National Boxing Stadium on Friday night
  • Significant armed Garda response attended scene
  • Choco celebrates 44th birthday in hospital bed- but refuses to cooperate with gardaí
Scene of the shooting outside the National Boxing Arena on the South Circular Road
Scene of the shooting outside the National Boxing Arena on the South Circular Road
Forensics staff probe the scene
Gang Feud: Gardai cordon off the scene of the attack outside the National Stadium
General view of Gardai cordon at Leonard's corner on South Circular road, close to the scene of last night's shooting outside the National Stadium in Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

The target of a gun attack outside a boxing event is refusing to co-operate with gardaí investigating the shooting.

Graham 'Choco' Byrne was hit in the leg when a gunman fired up to eight shots outside the National Boxing Stadium on Friday night. The incident sparked panic inside the stadium, where a boxing event was taking place, and led to a significant armed Garda response.

Despite the attempt on his life, Byrne - who celebrated his 44th birthday from his hospital bed on Saturday - has refused to assist gardaí with their inquiries.

An innocent student from the UK was also struck in the crossfire and suffered injuries to his hand.

In his 20s, the student is expected to be discharged from hospital this morning.

Some of the bullets also struck a car belonging to another innocent person.

Graham ‘Choco’ Byrne, the target of Friday’s gun attack
Graham ‘Choco’ Byrne, the target of Friday’s gun attack

It has emerged that a Kinahan cartel associate has gone to ground over fears that he will be blamed for ordering the gun attack on Byrne.

The cartel member, who is aged in his 30s and from the capital, is said to have "panicked" after being informed of the attempted hit.

Forensics staff probe the scene
Forensics staff probe the scene

"He panicked when he was told of the shooting. He didn't sanction it and wasn't even aware it was going to happen.

"This individual is now fearful that he'll be blamed and targeted, so he has gone to ground," a source said.

Gardaí have not received any information linking this man to the botched murder bid.

Detectives at Kevin Street Garda station are continuing their inquiries into the incident, which took place shortly before 9.45pm on the South Circular Road.

Gang Feud: Gardai cordon off the scene of the attack outside the National Stadium
Gang Feud: Gardai cordon off the scene of the attack outside the National Stadium

Gardaí are also in the process of gathering CCTV from the scene of the shooting and are attempting to trace the movements of a black Lexus, which is believed to have been used in the gun attack.

This vehicle was found burnt out in Dunsink Lane, north Dublin, in the aftermath of the shooting. A second vehicle, a Mercedes, was discovered on fire in the Ferndale area a short time later.

General view of Gardai cordon at Leonard's corner on South Circular road, close to the scene of last night's shooting outside the National Stadium in Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai cordon at Leonard's corner on South Circular road, close to the scene of last night's shooting outside the National Stadium in Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

It is believed that the Mercedes may have been used to transport the hit team from Dunsink Lane after the getaway car had been torched.

Gardaí are following a number of lines of inquiry in relation to the shooting and are probing a possible link to the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

General view of Gardai cordon on South Circular road, scene of last nights shooting outside National Stadium. South Circular Road, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai cordon on South Circular road, scene of last nights shooting outside National Stadium. South Circular Road, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Alternatively, the attempted murder may be linked to the fatal shooting of two innocent people last August.

Antoinette Corbally (48) and Clinton Shannon (30) were gunned down on Balbutcher Drive, Ballymun, by a two-man hit team. The intended target, Derek 'Bottler' Devoy (37), escaped the scene uninjured.

The target of Friday's shooting, Byrne, is a convicted armed robber who has links to both sides involved in the ongoing Hutch/Kinahan feud. However, he has not had any involvement in the dispute.

Byrne, originally from the north inner city but also with an address on the southside, was previously arrested and charged after breaking into the Garda station which houses the force's most elite units. In 2008, he was jailed for eight years for his role in the attempted armed robbery of more than €250,000 from a cash-in-transit van.

Irish Independent

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