Irish Olympic hero Katie Taylor's family are "very distressed" after her father Pete was shot at his gym by a gunman yesterday morning, her mother has said, adding "we all love him."
Father-of-seven Bobby Messett (50) died when a shooter opened fire at Bray Boxing Club in Co Wicklow at around 6.55am on Tuesday.
Pete Taylor, father of Olympian Katie and owner of the club, and another man were hospitalised after the attack. There were approximately 20 people preparing for a morning training session when the crazed gunman entered the gym and opened fire.
Katie's mother Bridget confirmed that her understanding was that Pete had been shot in the arm and the bullet had lodged in his chest, but that his injuries would not be life threatening.
“We’re glad he’s going to be okay, and we all love him,” she told Independent.ie.
Bridget said their hearts go out to the family of Bobby Messett.
Boxing coach Pete Taylor with daughter and Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor. Mr Taylor was named as one of three men shot at Bray Boxing Club, Co Wicklow (Brian Lawless/PA)
“I can’t imagine what they are going through. We are finding it hard enough here today but it is so much worse for his family, our hearts go out to them,” she said.
She could think of no reason why the club or anyone in it would be targeted. “I have no idea. We’re all shocked,” she said.
Bridget also said she had no idea why the gym would be targeted.
“We don’t know anything yet. The children are with Pete in hospital. We are all very distressed,” she said.
Mr Messett joined Bray Boxing Club, also known as Taylor Made Boxing Gym, in 2010 and they said today he will be sorely missed by those who knew him.
A tribute post on the Taylor Made Boxing Gym Facebook page said: "To our dear friend Bobby, our most dedicated & determined club member of 8 years.
"It has been an absolute pleasure for every single one of us to have been gifted with so many hours of your time in the club pushing, pulling, boxing, running, sweating, smiling & laughing.
"We are heartbroken and will miss you dearly... in the front row with Dave, ringside with Andy, increasing those chins every single week, being the first up for any challenge, that poor bruised nose every single time you sparred, morning chats about your race progress, continuously striving to get fitter, faster & stronger every single session.
Gardaí are now focusing their investigation on a silver coloured Volkswagen Caddy that the gunman fled the scene in.
The car, which had Northern Irish plates, was later found intact by gardaí in the Pigeon House Road area of Ringsend at around 2pm.
The gunman is believed to have travelled on his own and was seen cycling away from the getaway vehicle on a push bike.
House to house enquiries, CCTV footage and witness interviews will also prove crucial in the investigation.
“We’re particularly interested in hearing from anyone who was in this area this morning, it is a leisure area and people may have been out walking or walking their dogs. If they saw anything suspicious this morning or in previous mornings or anytime in the last few days please contact us,” said Superintendent Pat Ward from Bray garda station.
This appeal also extended to anyone using the gym who may have seen any suspicious activity lately, or anyone with dashcam cameras who were in and around Bray.
Anyone who saw a van fitting the description of the VW Caddy was also urged to make contact with Gardai.
The gunman was wearing some sort of dark cover on his head, which may have been a balaclava or a helmet of some sort.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Bray Garda Station on 01 6665300