Thursday 18 July 2019

Man killed in Dublin shooting named as father-of-three (39)

A Garda Technical Team at the scene of the fatal shooting in Darndale Inset: Victim John Lawless
A Garda Technical Team at the scene of the fatal shooting in Darndale Inset: Victim John Lawless
A Garda Technical Team at the scene of the fatal shooting in Darndale
Gardai at the scene of the Fatal shooting in Marigold Crescent, Darndale

Ken Foy, Rachel Farrell and Robin Schiller

The country's latest gun murder victim has been named as father-of-three John Lawless (39), who was shot dead on his way to work this morning.

Gardai have confirmed they are exploring a number of lines of inquiry into his killing but do not at this stage believe it is connected to serious organised crime. Mr Lawless himself was not linked to any ongoing gangland feud in the capital or high-level crime.

One motive being looked at is that the shooting was linked to a local issue, with "all the indications" pointing to the locality where he lived.

Supt Gerard Donnelly, of Coolock garda station, said: "A 39-year-old man left his home at Marigold Crescent, John Lawless is his name, and he was making his way to work when he was shot. He was brought in a critical condition to Beaumont Hospital and died a short time after his arrival.

"Shortly after the shooting a burnt out car was discovered at Greenwood Avenue. This car is described as a silver Ford Focus, with a 132 registration number. "Now we believe this car may have some connection with the shooting incident.

"This is a car too which we believe was stolen on the January 1 this year in the Santry area.

A burned out car on Greenwood Avenue
A burned out car on Greenwood Avenue
Scene of the shooting on Marigold Crescent, Darndale

"Two scenes were examined, the scene at Marigold Crescent where the shooting took place and the scene at Greenwod Avenue where the car was located. These scenes were examined by the garda Technical Bureau.

"We are in consultation with the local Coroners Office, we are also in consultation with the State Pathologist office and a post mortem is currently taking place at the city mortuary in Whitehall.

Scene of the shooting on Marigold Crescent Darndale
Scene of the shooting on Marigold Crescent Darndale

"At this stage we have no known motive for this shooting. Mr Lawless left his home this morning on the way to work. He is not a person who was known to us for involvement in serious criminal activity.

"We have a number of lines of inquiry which we will explore, a conference has already been held here at Coolock garda station and a further conference will be held later on this evening."

Shortly after the shooting a silver Ford Focus car registration number 132-D was found partially burnt out at Greenwood Avenue off Blunden Drive, Coolock a short time after the shooting.

It is believed that this car may have been used in the shooting and was stolen in the course of a burglary in the Santry area on the 1st January 2019.

The scene of the shooting
The scene of the shooting

John Lawless was described as a family man whose partner is expecting their fourth child.

Investigators have sealed off a corner in the Marigold Crescent housing estate in Darndale after the shooting, which occurred at approximately 6.30am.

Mr Lawless was shot outside a house and was with a number of other people at the time of the shooting.

However this group fled from the scene as the gunman opened fire. Gardaí say they are anxious to locate these witnesses.

He was treated at the scene by emergency personnel and then taken to Beaumont Hospital where he later died.

The senior officer also appealed for any person who may have witnessed the shooting at Marigold present, or any motorist who witnessed the silver car driving from Darndale to Greenwod Avenue, or anyone with information, to contact them.

"I would also make an appeal here, the Lawless family, they have lost a partner, a son, a brother and I appeal for them to be respected at this time.

"We are satisfied at this stage (of no organised crime link), all the indications are that it may be something in the local area.

"We will adjust our policing arrangements in accordance with the investigation as it progresses.

"We have a number of lines of inquiry which are pointing in a number of directions at the moment and we are exploring all avenues.

"No firearm has been recovered, we believe it is a handgun from the ammunition we picked up at the scene."

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau have been carrying out a forensic examination of the scene throughout the morning, and have focusing on the area where the gun victim’s body was discovered.

A Garda cordon remains in place, while senior officers have also attended the scene this morning.

Armed gardai have also been visible in the area, with members of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) on petrol at the scene earlier today.  

One neighbour described the shooting as “very unusual” for the area.

“I was woken by the flashing lights this morning and thought it was just an ambulance. It’s really sad to hear,” she said.

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin described the latest shooting as a "wake up call" and called for increased resources to tackle gun attacks in the area.

"This morning’s shooting incident in Darndale shows once again that the Government is out of touch with the realities of life on the ground across the northside. This latest killing must receive the attention it deserves," he said.

"Consistently I have raised through Seanad commencement debates the need for increased Garda resources on the northside. Another life has now been lost.

"Why is the northside being ignored? These are no ordinary crimes and deserve the attention of the Minister for Justice. He can no longer ignore the escalation in serious crime.

"It is time to take on the escalating number of gun shootings by committing the resources to tackle this once and for all. Dismissing these incidents as being an operational matter for the Gardaí is insulting to the communities who need protection."

Independent TD Tommy Broughan condemned the shooting and called for an increased garda presence in the area.

"All citizens should feel safe and secure in their own communities. I am very concerned about the rise in gun crime over recent years which has again produced a loss of life early this morning. 

"Increased Garda presence on the ground in all areas of the Northside is urgently needed, as is improved estate management from the Local Authority in charge, Dublin City Council and full support from government for local housing, health, education and social services," he said.

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses including those who may have dashcam footage from the area.

A statement said: "Gardaí investigating the fatal shooting of a man in Dublin continue to appeal for information.

"The scene of the shooting is currently preserved pending an examination by Garda Crime Scene Examiners.  A second scene is also sealed off pending a technical examination of a burnt out car in the Greenwood Avenue area of Donaghmede.

"A post mortem examination will be carried out this afternoon by Dr Michael Curtis at the City Morgue.

"Investigating Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information or anyone who may have witnessed this incident to contact the incident room at Coolock Garda Station on 01- 6664200, the Garda Confidential Line 1 800 666 111 or any Garda Station."

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