Saturday 20 October 2018

Garda and teen gunman hit in shoot-out during raid on suspected 'drug deal depot'

A man is led from the scene in handcuffs by gardaí
A man is led from the scene in handcuffs by gardaí

Tom Brady and Ken Foy

A teenager fired a number of shots at gardaí - injuring one officer - as they mounted a raid on a suspected 'drug-dealing depot' in a north Dublin suburb.

Members of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) were involved in a shoot-out after an 18-year-old opened fire on them from a window in a house on Barnwell Drive in Ballymun.

Gardaí at the scene in Barnwell Drive, Dublin, where a member of the force and a man were shot. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Gardaí at the scene in Barnwell Drive, Dublin, where a member of the force and a man were shot. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Scene of the shooting in Ballymun this morning
Scene of the shooting of an ERU Garda in Barnwell Drive in Ballymun this morning
Gardaí search the scene Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Both the teenager and the garda were injured in the incident and were recovering today in hospital today.

The garda, a member of the ERU, was hit in the arm when the teenager opened fire with a handgun using .22 ammunition.

The ERU officers were attempting to breach a reinforced door at the house in Barnwell Drive in Ballymun, on the northside of Dublin, around 7am yesterday.

They had been called in to provide armed back-up for local gardaí who were executing a warrant to search the house for drugs.

As members of the unit were forcing an entry, the teenager fired the shot hitting the officer.

It's believed the occupants inside the house thought the ERU were a rival gang, and the teenager opened fire.

Gardaí then succeeded in gaining entry and in an exchange of gunfire, an 18-year-old youth was hit but not seriously injured.

Both of the wounded were treated at the scene and were then taken to hospital where they were said to be recovering well last night.

Officers arrested two women and a man on suspicion of being in possession of a firearm.

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The three, in their 30s and 40s, were being held for questioning last night at Garda stations in Ballymun, Swords and Clontarf.

They were detained under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and can be held without charge for up to three days.

A shooting incident had taken place at the house about two weeks earlier and a man was injured but not seriously.

The search of the premises was carried out after extensive inquiries by local Garda units into the activities of a drug trafficking gang, believed to be involved in dealing in heroin and crack cocaine, in the area in recent months.

Gardaí have been co-operating with the local authority to prevent houses being taken over by gangs for use as either drugs storage depots or dealing centres, sometimes without the knowledge of the registered occupants.

During a detailed follow-up search of the house, officers recovered a quantity of drugs yesterday.

The Garda Ombudsman Commission was notified of the incident and is investigating all of the circumstances surrounding the firing of a Garda weapon.

But this investigation is not interfering with Garda inquiries into the criminal offences involved. Some of those arrested are understood to be well known to gardaí and have been under investigation in the past.

House-to-house inquiries were carried out yesterday afternoon following a conference attended by the investigation team.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he had learned with concern of the shooting of the garda and wished him a full and speedy recovery.

"Incidents like this highlight the danger that can face members of An Garda Síochána in carrying out their duties.

"The work of uniformed gardaí and the special units is critical in keeping people safe and tackling serious criminals whose activities can destroy communities.

"I acknowledge the good work of An Garda Síochána and assure the force of my continued support for its efforts", Mr Flanagan added.

Irish Independent

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