Saturday 18 August 2018

Gun attack at Bray Boxing Club 'has nothing to do with boxing' - IABA chief

  • 'What happened at Bray Boxing Club has nothing to do with boxing' - IABA CEO
  • Deceased named as grandfather and 'fitness fanatic' Bobby Messett (50)
  • Pete Taylor, father of Olympian Katie, and another man hospitalised after attack
  • Up to 20 people were in the gym when incident happened
  • Gardaí now tracing steps of gunman after crazed shooting
  • Tributes pour in for Mr Messett: 'Bobby mate, we were so proud to have you as a friend these past 50 years, Rest in Peace'
Pete Taylor (left) was injured in the attack, while innocent grandfather Bobby Messett (50) was killed in the shooting
Pete Taylor (left) was injured in the attack, while innocent grandfather Bobby Messett (50) was killed in the shooting
A silver Volkswagen van, believed to have been used in the attack at Bray Boxing Club, has been found on the Pigeon House Road in Dublin
Well-known trainer Pete Taylor (inset) and the scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club
Scene of shooting at Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Scene of shooting at Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Scene of shooting at Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)
Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)
Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)
The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys
The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys
The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys
The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys
The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys

Denise Calnan, Conor Feehan and Amy Molloy

The CEO of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) has said "whatever went on" during the Bray Boxing Club gun attack yesterday "has nothing to do with boxing".

IABA's Fergal Carruth spoke following a triple shooting at the well-known boxing club in Bray, Co Wicklow in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Three innocent men were shot in the incident. A grandfather, named as Bobby Messett (50), lost his life in the shooting.

Pete Taylor, father of Olympian Katie and owner of the club, and another man were hospitalised after the attack. There were approximately 20 people preparing for a morning training session when the crazed gunman entered the gym and opened fire.

Bobby Messett
Bobby Messett

Gardaí are now focusing their investigation on a silver coloured Volkswagen Caddy that the gunman fled the scene in.

The car, which had Northern Irish plates, was later found intact by gardaí in the Pigeon House Road area of Ringsend at around 2pm.

The gunman is believed to have travelled on his own and was seen cycling away from the getaway vehicle on a push bike.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Today with Sean O'Rourke this morning, Mr Carruth said the IABA are "completely horrified" at the incident. He also paid tribute to the deceased and the two injured.

Boxing trainer Pete Taylor
Boxing trainer Pete Taylor

"The IABA are completely horrified something like this could happen in the setting of a community sports club.

"Our thoughts are with those affected by this appalling event, in particular the Messett family and all of the family and friends invoved.

"We were absolutely horrified."

He continued; "There's a huge amount of speculation going on. People are trying to find reasons for what occurred and why it may have occurred.

Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)
Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)

"I'm sure the police will ensure that it is fully investigated.

"In terms of the world of boxing, whatever went on there yesterday, it has nothing to do with boxing.

"We carry out the business of boxing in 380 clubs around the country, providing a unique service in many area where there isn't many options open to children.

"The reality is boxing is routed in the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland and sometimes that brings its own challenges.

"The links being made in some cases here are tenuous and other links are closely linked to professional boxing and there is a difference in professional and amateur boxing.

"We can talk about the amateur side and we're thriving at the moment.

"We're having a huge amount of international success at a domestic level.

Scene of shooting at Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Scene of shooting at Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

"There are youngsters coming from the length and breadth of the country and they are being given healthy lifestyles and are being given positive role models in their lives through their coaches."

Mr Carruth said the IABA have "always had a very close link with the gardaí in terms of events in major venues".

"We've always had a very close relationship and we will continue that. This is a societal issue and it's not simply to do with boxing."

Investigation

Gardaí are now tracing the steps of the gunman after the shooting at the club in The Harbour, Bray, Co Wicklow, at around 6.55am yesterday morning.

House to house enquiries, CCTV footage and witness interviews will also prove crucial in the investigation.

“We’re particularly interested in hearing from anyone who was in this area this morning, it is a leisure area and people may have been out walking or walking their dogs. If they saw anything suspicious this morning or in previous mornings or anytime in the last few days please contact us,” said Superintendent Pat Ward from Bray garda station.

This appeal also extended to anyone using the gym who may have seen any suspicious activity lately, or anyone with dashcam cameras who were in and around Bray.

Anyone who saw a van fitting the description of the VW Caddy was also urged to make contact with Gardai.

The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys
The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys

The gunman was wearing some sort of dark cover on his head, which may have been a balaclava or a helmet of some sort.

Tributes

Tributes have been pouring in on social media to Mr Messett who was "simply in the wrong place at the wrong time" when he was killed in the attack.

Devastated friends have paid tribute to Mr Messett following the news of his death.

One friend wrote on the Glencormac United Facebook page; "Sadly, you will all have heard by now of the tragic news of the loss of our beloved Bobby "Dazzler" Messitt.

"Bobby was an innocent victim in the shooting this morning at Bray Boxing Club and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)
Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)

"Words cannot convey how heartbroken every one of us is at The Glens to lose one the most dedicated club men anyone could have."

The friend said everyone's "prayers and hearts go out to" Mr Messett's loved ones at this time and he urged others to share photos and fond memories of him.

"Bobby mate, we were so proud to have you as a friend these past 50 years, Rest in Peace," he added.

Gardai have said that there were up to 20 people in the gym when the incident happened.

Mr Messett joined Bray Boxing Club back in 2010 and described the gym as “a big family” and said his favourite part of training was “sparring with Pete [Taylor]”.

On his Twitter account, he tweeted his support of Pete's daughter Katie after her defeat in the Olympic Games in August 2016.

“Hard luck today Katie gutted to see you so upset, you’re a true champ and we're all so proud of you Keep the faith x”

Mr Taylor was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital after the incident and boxer Gary Cully, who has won four professional fights with Pete in his corner, said on his social media page that he was in contact with his coach.

"Just spoke to Pete on the phone, he's doing fine, that's all I know," he posted.

Cully is slated to fight on the Michael Conlan homecoming card at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on June 30 against an opponent to be confirmed.

Attack

Mr Messett is believed to have been shot in the head while Mr Taylor was shot in the arm, with the bullet deflecting into his chest. The other man was hit a number of times in the leg. The two injured men are in hospital, and their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

"Gardaí can confirm that one man aged 50 years has died following a shooting incident in Bray, Co. Wicklow this morning," a garda spokesman said.

"The body of the deceased remains at the scene pending the arrival of the State Pathologist and a technical examination of the area is being carried out by Garda Crime Scene Examiners.

"Two other men, aged 35 and 57, who were injured in the incident have been taken to hospital."

Superintendent Pat Ward from Bray garda station said there were up to 20 people in the gym at the time of the shooting, and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“At around ten to seven or seven o’clock this morning a number of people had gathered here to commence a gym session," he told reporters at lunchtime on Tuesday.

"There was about 15 or 20 people in the gym, and they were just about to start their session when a gunman came in carrying what we believe was a handgun and he started opening fire.

“Three people received gunshot wounds. Unfortunately a 50 year old man died at the scene and two others were injured. They were brought to hospital and are receiving treatment,” he added.

The body was taken from the scene at lunchtime.

  • Anyone with information is urged to contact Bray Garda Station on 01 6665300.

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