Passengers saw assassin from Luas, gardai believe
GARDAI believe the killer of small-time criminal Michael Kelly lay in wait for him behind shrubbery as the victim walked across a green area to his death.
Officers were hoping last night that a study of CCTV footage from two Luas trams that passed the murder scene at the time of the shooting on Monday morning could provide vital clues to the identity of the gunman.
They were also examining the victim's mobile phone to establish whether he had been lured to the area by a call from the killer or his accomplices.
But gardai said they were also aware that the 27-year-old father of three, right, regularly used that route along the Grand Canal walk – near the Luas line at Suir Road and Davitt Road. He lived with his partner at nearby Slievenamon Road in Drimnagh.
A number of passengers on the two trams, which were travelling in opposite directions shortly before 10.30am, have already contacted the investigation team at its headquarters in Kilmainham station.
But detectives are anxious to hear from other passengers, who might have spotted the gunman or his accomplice in the green area, which is known locally as the 'dry canal'.
The gunman was dressed in a distinctive sky-blue hoodie with white shoulders.
Gardai are also trying to trace the movements on Monday morning of a metallic grey or lilac-coloured Opel Astra saloon,
registration number 99 LH 5711, which was used to take the killer from the scene.
Officers believe it was driven erratically along St James' Walk, South Circular Road, New Ireland Road or Suir Road before being set on fire at Rialto Court.
Inside the car, gardai found a handgun which had been used in the murder. It was fitted with a silencer.
Gardai said last night they had not picked up any intelligence to indicate that Mr Kelly's life was in danger or that he had been involved in an ongoing dispute. But they are checking out whether the murder could have been linked to an unreported incident in which the victim was said to have been whipped with a dog leash as a result of a row.
They are still working on the theory that Mr Kelly's death is connected to a row over drugs.
They believe that he either owed money to a dealer operating in the south inner city or had been involved in an argument with another criminal over 'territory'.
Gardai have carried out house-to-house inquiries near the scene of the shooting in the Drimnagh and Kilmainham areas and have also been checking into the victim's background at previous addresses in Inchicore and in St Teresa's Gardens, where he grew up.