Tributes have been paid to an innocent grandfather who was "simply in the wrong place at the wrong time" when he was killed in an early morning gun attack today.
The deceased man, who has been named locally as Bobby Messett (50), died when a gunman entered Bray Boxing Club in The Harbour, Bray, Co Wicklow, at around 6.55am this morning and fired a number of shots.
Pete Taylor, the father of Olympian Katie, and another man had to be rushed to hospital after they were injured in the attack.
Devastated friends have paid tribute to Mr Messett following the news of his death.
Gardaí pictured on the pier following a shooting in Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Mark Condren)
“Hard luck today Katie gutted to see you so upset, you’re a true champ and we're all so proud of you Keep the faith x”
Mr Taylor was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital after the incident and boxer Gary Cully, who has won four professional fights with Pete in his corner, said on his social media page that he was in contact with his coach.
"Just spoke to Pete on the phone, he's doing fine, that's all I know," he posted.
Cully is slated to fight on the Michael Conlan homecoming card at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on June 30 against an opponent to be confirmed.
Mr Messett is believed to have been shot in the head while Mr Taylor was shot in the arm, with the bullet deflecting into his chest. The other man was hit a number of times in the leg. The two injured men are in hospital, and their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
"Gardaí can confirm that one man aged 50 years has died following a shooting incident in Bray, Co. Wicklow this morning," a garda spokesman said.
"The body of the deceased remains at the scene pending the arrival of the State Pathologist and a technical examination of the area is being carried out by Garda Crime Scene Examiners.
"Two other men, aged 35 and 57, who were injured in the incident have been taken to hospital."
Superintendent Pat Ward from Bray garda station today said there were up to 20 people in the gym at the time of the shooting, and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
“At around ten to seven or seven o’clock this morning a number of people had gathered here to commence a gym session," he told reporters at lunchtime on Tuesday.
Scene of shooting at Bray Boxing Club (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
"There was about 15 or 20 people in the gym, and they were just about to start their session when a gunman came in carrying what we believe was a handgun and he started opening fire.
“Three people received gunshot wounds. Unfortunately a 50 year old man died at the scene and two others were injured. They were brought to hospital and are receiving treatment,” he added.
The body was taken from the scene at lunchtime.
Gardai are attempting to trace the movements of a silver Volkswagen Caddy van with Northern Irish registration which is understood to have been used in the shooting.
It is believed that this van travelled from Bray through Shankill and the Cornelscourt area before being abandoned on Pigeon House Road at around 8.05am, when a male was seen leaving the van and cycling away.
The vehicle which is suspected of being used in the shooting was found in the Ringsend area of Dublin this afternoon.
The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation are assisting local units in the investigation, and members of the garda technical bureau commenced a forensic examination of the scene.
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 Supt Ward.
The re-vamped Bray Boxing Club which was officially opened in January 2014. Pic Steve Humphreys
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 early today.
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.
The boxing club is where Ireland's Olympic, European and World champion Katie Taylor previously trained. It is understood she is now training in the US as she continues her professional career. The club was set up by her father and was also home to former Irish champion Adam Nolan.
The €300,000 state-of-the-art facility was officially opened in February 2014.
Early reports suggest that the deceased man opened the door to the gunman before being shot. Gardai are investigating whether the gunman then entered the building before shooting the other two men, and then making his escape.