Manhunt launched after 'gentle giant' fitness worker (29) shot dead outside Eddie Rockets
- Victim named locally as John Gibson from Lucan
- Gibson was a close friend of Darragh Nugent who was shot dead last week
- It was fourth murder in West Dublin feud
- Burnt-out van, believed to have been used in the hit discovered
- Gardai appeal for witnesses
A fitness instructor has become the latest murder victim in a west Dublin feud.
John Gibson (29) was gunned down in a car park in Fortunestown Lane, Tallaght, at around 9.20pm last night.
Gibson was close pals with Darragh Nugent (36), who was shot dead in west Dublin last week.
Both men were associated with jailed hitman James ‘Nellie’ Walsh.
Gardai believe the murders were carried out by a west Dublin gang who are intent on wiping out Walsh’s outfit.
The gang suspected of murdering Gibson have links to the Kinahan cartel and are considered among the biggest drug distributors in west Dublin.
It is understood that Gibson was blasted several times as he sat in his car outside Eddie Rockets outlet.
A gunman, who was driven to the scene in a van, opened fire on Gibson, who tried to get out of his car and flee.
He suffered at least one catastrophic gunshot wound to the head.
Gibson's body remained at the scene this morning.
At 11 am two young women arrived and placed flowers at the scene of the shooting.
'Thinking of you pal. Love you to the moon and back' said one message on a bouquet.
'What a gentle giant. Love always', said another one.
Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out a preliminary examination of the body at the scene as members of the garda technical bureau conducted a forensic examination.
The van was later recovered burnt out on nearby Verschoyle Green. A magazine clip was also recovered from the front seat.
The scene surrounding an Eddie Rockets fast food restaurant at Citywest Shopping Centre 50 metres from the scene was sealed off.
Gardai are treating last night’s shooting as the fourth murder linked to the bitter west Dublin feud, which has escalated in the past fortnight.
Gibson was not considered a major gangland criminal, and had only a number of minor convictions including one for simple possession of drugs when he was caught with three ecstasy tablets in Swords last year.
However, he had close links to Walsh, who is currently serving a lengthy sentence over firearms.
Walsh, backed up by Nugent, became a player in the west Dublin crime scene around five years ago and ended up getting involved in a bitter dispute with a Clondalkin gang with close links to the cartel.
As the dispute intensified, the gang tried to murder Walsh in the early hours of August 24, 2013, at Harelawn Green in Clondalkin.
Instead, innocent Dean Johnson, who had been socialising earlier with the intended target, was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity.
Sources said this infuriated Walsh, who decided to take revenge on the rival mob.
Within five days, cartel- linked criminal Jason ‘Jay’ Carroll (39) was shot dead at his home in Clondalkin.
Supt Peter Duff from Tallaght garda station appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.
He outlined the sequence of events surrounding the killing.
"Last night at approximately 9.20pm the deceased, John Gibson, a 28 year-old father of two small children from the Lucan area, was parked in his silver Audi car at Citywest Shopping Centre. Another vehicle entered the car park and it appears that Mr Gibson suffered a number of fatal gunshot wounds and was later pronounced dead at the scene," he said.
"Gardai in Tallaght are appealing for anyone who was in the Citywest Shopping Centre area from 8pm onwards, if they may have seen anything, to contact Tallaght Garda station on 6666000 or the garda confidential line on 1800 666111, or any garda station," he added.
Supt Duff said an incident room has been set up at Tallaght garda station and a murder investigation launched.
He added that an examination would also be carried out on a VW Caddy found burned out on Verschoyle Green nearby. They believe that van may have been white, and appealed for anyone who may have witnesses it in the area to come forward.
Supt Duff said it was nit known definitively why Mr Gibson was at the shopping centre, and Gardai were keeping an open mind into motive for killing him.