Gardai 'keeping an open mind' on fatal shooting
GARDAI are keeping an open mind on the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of a suspected drug dealer in Co Kildare.
The victim has been named as 33-year-old Edward 'Ned' Hamilton, from Kilmeague. He died after he was hit by a shotgun blast to the upper body.
Gardai are now waiting to interview the owner of the house, who may lose a thumb as a result of injuries inflicted in the incident.
The man is in hospital at Naas and officers hope he may be able to help them determine if the shotgun was fired accidentally.
The incident took place shortly before 6am on Saturday in a chalet behind a bungalow. Three men, including the victim and the house owner, had been drinking together earlier in the night.
Gardai were alerted and recovered a legally held shotgun at the scene.
Mr Hamilton was pronounced dead at Naas Hospital and a post-mortem examination, carried out by the Assistant State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis later in the day, confirmed that he had died from gunshot wounds.
Gardai said the dead man was well known to them and was suspected of being involved in the sale and supply of drugs.
He was an associate of Andrew Barry, one of two men shot dead by a south Dublin drug trafficking gang at Mr Barry's house in Kilcock in north Kildare last March.
Mr Hamilton was interviewed by gardai about the double shooting, but was not thought to have been directly involved.
However, gardai suspected that he had some knowledge about the shootings, which could have been helpful to their inquiries.
The murders remain unsolved, but inquiries are still continuing. The second victim was a Lithuanian, Zilvinas Varnauskas, but Mr Barry was thought to have been the prime target of the gunmen. A handgun and a shotgun were used in the double murder.
Ned Hamilton (33) was originally from Donadea in Co Kildare.
Shocked local, Brian Downes, said the community were "distraught" that something like this could happen in such "peaceful area".