ONE of two men murdered in a gangland shooting spree at a quiet suburban housing estate was trying to flee his killers when he died, investigators have said.
Up to three gunmen opened fire on four men inside a mid-terrace house in Rochford Avenue, Kilcock, Co Kildare shortly after 10pm last night.
It is believed the intended target was Andy Barry, 31, originally from Tallaght, south Dublin, a close associate of a well-known crime boss who also lives in Co Kildare.
Superintendent John Gilligan said inquiries were at an early stage but suggested not all of the men may have been the original targets of the attackers.
"Whether the gunmen knew they were going to find four people in the house or not is subject to investigation," he said.
"But certainly the people who came to the house were determined to shoot at least one person, if not more, at the time."
Another 31-year-old man, from Eastern Europe, was found dead in a neighbour's back garden, after apparently trying to escape the bloodshed by climbing over a fence.
Barry was discovered dead inside the house by emergency services alerted to the scene through a 999 call.
Two other men, another Irishman in his early 30s and a second Eastern European aged 25, were also seriously wounded in the attack.
But their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. Both have been initially questioned but will face full interviews after they have been medically treated.
Detectives believe the killers either walked into the house through an unlocked door or were invited in, as there was no sign of forced entry.
It is thought at least two firearms were used.
Barry was believed to a be an "enforcer" charged with collecting drug debts for his gangland boss. His reputation for extreme violence in carrying out his underworld role was fearsome.
His family moved from Tallaght to Maynooth when he was in his teens, and he later moved to Kilcock.
One neighbour believed he had been living at Rochford Avenue for the past two or three years.
The house and the house behind it, where the other victim's body was found in the rear garden, were sealed off for forensic examinations.
All four men caught up in the gunfire, who are not related but described as associates, were believed to be in the downstairs area of the house at the time of the attack.
The killers fled the scene in a car.
Officers are trawling CCTV footage from Kilcock, surrounding areas and from the M4 motorway in an attempt to track the car used and the route they took.
They have yet to establish if the car went through Kilcock to the motorway or cross-country towards Trim and Dunboyne, Co Meath. No firearms have been recovered, a Garda spokesman said.
Detectives believe the killers may have cased out the house before launching the attack and may have had the intended target under surveillance.
They have appealed for witnesses who may have seen or heard any suspicious activity in the estate to come forward.
Post-mortem examinations on the dead men were being carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar at James Connolly Memorial Hospital.
Gardai are investigating whether the murders are linked to another shooting in which a 25-year-old man was injured in Brayton Park, Kilcock last December.
Other lines of inquiry include links to a gun attack on a property and shots being fired at a black BMW car, both in Tallaght. A similar style of car was parked outside the Kilcock home today.
Several neighbours in the Rochford Avenue area said they heard nothing around the time of the attack.
One young father, who did not wish to be identified, said gardai had been called to the scene of the killing a number of times in the past.
"It's madness," he said. "I have young children and they play on the green in front of that house."
The man, on his way to work, said he had not seen or heard anything last night until emergency services arrived.
Door-to-door inquiries were being carried out at the Rochford housing estate, close to the Royal Canal.