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Gardaí search for gunman in latest gangland murder

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Flowers at the scene at Gym Plus in Applewood Close, Swords where two men were shot, one fatally, on Thursday night. PHOTO: COLIN KEEGAN

Flowers at the scene at Gym Plus in Applewood Close, Swords where two men were shot, one fatally, on Thursday night. PHOTO: COLIN KEEGAN

Colin Keegan

Flowers at the scene at Gym Plus in Applewood Close, Swords where two men were shot, one fatally, on Thursday night. PHOTO: COLIN KEEGAN

Gardaí are investigating whether a criminal gang hired a hitman from Dublin's south inner city to carry out the latest murder in Dublin.

CCTV is expected to play a key role in the investigation into the murder of barber Zach Parker (23).

Mr Parker was sitting in a BMW X5 with a friend outside the 'Gym Plus' premises in Swords, North County Dublin, when he was shot at least five times on Thursday night at approximately 7.30pm.

His 25-year-old friend was also seriously injured in the shooting, but gardaí believe Mr Parker was the target.

Superintendent Gerry Donnelly, of Swords Garda station, said CCTV footage shows the gunman approach the driver's side of the car and take aim directly at Mr Parker.

His friend, who was in the passenger seat of Mr Parker's car and was hit by bullets, underwent surgery in Beaumont Hospital yesterday and is described as being in a stable condition.

Supt Gerry Donnelly speaks during his press briefing at scene of a fatal shooting at Applewood Close, Swords.

"As they were approaching Jugback Lane, a lone gunman approached the side of the car and discharged at least five shots into the driver's side window fatally injuring the driver, Zachary Parker, and injuring the front seat passenger, a 25-year-old man from the Swords area," Supt Donnelly said yesterday.

"After the shooting the gunman left on foot out onto Jugback Lane. At that point we don't have a direction of travel or if he was assisted by a getaway vehicle.

"The gunman is described as tall, athletic build, wearing a black type hoodie top with a black scarf wrapped around his face.

He had black tracksuit bottoms, black runners with white soles, and what is significant is he had a rucksack in his back which was a lighter colour, possibly grey. We believe the handgun that was used in this shooting was concealed in that rucksack."

Superintendent Donnelly appealed for any witnesses who may have been in the Applewood area, particularly around the premises of Gym Plus, Applewood Close, Jugback Lane and the Balheary Road area of Swords, and any motorist who may have dashcam footage, particularly from 6.30-8.00pm, to contact Swords Garda station on 6664700 or the Garda confidential line on 1800666111.

Zach Parker previously worked as a barber in Style Club salon in the Pavilions shopping centre in Swords.

"Zach was an amazing guy, a great barber, and well loved by the customers and the staff," one colleague said. But it is understood the young man may been fallen foul of a drugs gang from nearby Coolock, linked to local gang boss nicknamed 'Mr Big', as well as a Traveller gang who are suspected of being behind his murder.

Last April, Parker appeared before Swords District Court which heard that he had chipped in with friends to buy nearly €3,000 worth of cocaine.

Irish Independent