A CONVICTED criminal fighting for his life after the latest gangland shooting was once known as the Loan Ranger for carrying out an armed hold-up on a building society.
Karl Wynne, from Finglas in north Dublin, was gunned down while sitting on a wall outside a busy shopping centre in Tallaght last night amid numerous onlookers enjoying the warm summer evening outdoors.
The 45-year-old unemployed single father had been questioned recently about the attempted murder of gym owner Sean Enright on May 15.
Detectives said a motorbike pulled up at St Dominic's Shopping Centre in Old Bawn, Tallaght, at around 9.50pm last night and the pillion passenger fired a number of shots from a handgun into Mr Wynne.
Emergency services called to the scene rushed him to hospital where he remains in a critical condition.
Gardai said Mr Wynne, who has a number of convictions, was known to them for a "considerable period of time".
Superintendent David Taylor, of the Garda press office, has appealed for anyone who was at or near the scene around the time of the shooting to get in contact with investigators.
"It was a very warm night, one of the best summer nights we've had so a lot of people would have been out and about where the shooting took place, outside premises, restaurants and off-licences," he said. "People who were out and about may have seen something."
A number of gun shells found at the scene have been sent for forensic tests.
Detectives are eager to track the whereabouts and movement of the dark coloured motorbike used in the attack.
The driver and pillion passenger were wearing dark clothing, according to a number of witnesses who have already come forward.
Mr Wynne was dubbed the Loan Ranger when he was jailed for seven years in 1999 for holding up the EBS building society in Cork, and making off in a taxi.
He has been charged with a number of other robberies, including a hair salon and pharmacy.
But one of line of inquiry for his shooting is that it is linked to the attempted murder of Mr Enright outside his Universal Warrior gym, at the Ballybogan Business Park in Finglas, north Dublin.
Mr Wynne had been arrested and questioned about the attempted killing.
In a separate incident, a man carried out an attempted shooting at a gym in Offaly.
Gardai said the attacker's shotgun failed to go off on two occasions when he took aim at another man.
The incident occurred at a gym in the Axis business park off the Clara Road in Tullamore at 9.35pm.
A car believed to have been used in the attempted shooting was found burned out three miles away on the Canal Bank.