Friday 25 May 2018

Man fights for life after shooting linked to row in clothing trade

Luke Byrne and Tom Brady

A BRUTAL attempt to murder a father of two as he drove his teenage son to school yesterday is being linked to a dispute in the second-hand clothing trade.

The victim, Lithuanian Virgis Aleksiunas (38), was in a critical condition in hospital last night after being hit by up to six shots from a handgun.

He was driving his 17-year-old son, Alex, out of the quiet, suburban Aiken's Village estate in Sandyford, south Dublin, when his Mercedes car was ambushed.

Two men in a silver Ford Mondeo blocked their way, then got out and ran towards the Mercedes.

One of the men opened fire with a handgun and pumped five or six bullets into the windscreen of Mr Aleksiunas's car.

He was hit in the chest and in the face while Alex was struck by shattered glass and also sustained an injury as he got out of the car to tackle one of the attackers.

The two men abandoned the Mondeo and made off on foot in the direction of the nearby Sandyford Hall estate, towards Kilgobbin Road or Murphystown Road.

Gardai were last night trying to establish if the second attacker was armed with a shotgun but which was not fired in the murder attempt.

Armed officers later arrested a 41-year-old Lithuanian man in a housing estate in west Dublin around lunchtime and he was taken to Blackrock garda station for questioning.

He was being held last night under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, which allows gardai to detain him without charge for up to three days. Officers do not suspect he was one of the attackers.

Shocked

Mr Aleksiunas has been living here for several years and has no criminal connections.

He works in the second-hand clothing trade and one line of inquiry being pursued by the investigation team last night was that the attack could have been linked to a business dispute.

The shooting took place at 8.30am and after the incident Mr Aleksiunas attempted to make his way back to his house with his son but collapsed on to the ground, where he was helped by shocked neighbours and passers-by until the emergency services arrived.

He was rushed by ambulance to St Vincent's Hospital where his condition was later described as critical.

The area was cordoned off after the shooting as gardai from the technical bureau examined the area. The Mondeo and Mercedes were taken away for forensic checks.

Gardai last night appealed to anybody who spotted the silver Mondeo, registered 99 D 47450, in the hours before the shooting, to contact them. They also urged anybody who noticed two men acting suspiciously in the area between 8.30am and 9am to phone Blackrock station (Tel 01-6665200).

Gardai believe the two men either hailed a taxi or were picked up by an accomplice.

Irish Independent

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