Sunday 25 March 2018

They pointed a gun at my head and said 'get the f*** out of here'

Witnesses tell of horrifying ordeal as victim shot in front of hotel manager

Barry Duggan

The manager of the hotel where last night's brutal gangland attack took place has said he saw the man who died get shot in front of him in the lobby.

John Glynn, the manager of the Regency Hotel on Dublin's northside, said: "I am one of the lucky ones. These guys seemed to be firing left, right and centre. I saw a bullet is gone through one of the panels behind the bar.

"I heard a bang and thought that it was a bottle that broke. The last thing in my mind was that it was a gunshot."

He added that he saw one of the victims get shot in the reception area of the hotel.

"I was standing there watching it. I couldn't get my head around it. Naturally I am scared."

The attack took place as a weigh-in was being held at the hotel for this weekend's boxing event Clash of the Clans.

Jamie Kavanagh, son of murdered Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh, was on stage at the Regency Hotel before tonight's fight - since cancelled - against Portuguese opponent, Antonio Joao Bento.

Daniel Kinahan, a key event organiser and son of exiled drugs empire boss Christy, was also present.

Two eyewitnesses told the Irish Independent what happened as the weigh-in ended.

"I got there for about 1.30pm and hung around the foyer and went straight in," the first witness said.

"There were 100 people in the room. It was very ordinary. There were three fights weighed in. We left at 2.25pm and walked out to the foyer. There was about eight or nine of us walking out. There was about 20 or so normal guests not linked to the weigh-in in the foyer, including children. There were more in the bar, 20 or so, all I think who were with the weigh-in.

"I went outside onto the steps. I was going to pull out a cigarette and have a smoke.

"Two or three people ran out behind me from the foyer onto the front road and said: 'It's all kicking off in there', there was panic on their faces," the first witness said.

Three gunmen disguised as garda officers then made their move.

"There was a silver '03 -D registered transit van in front of us. Three lads, I thought they were ERU (Emergency Response Unit), were standing there.

"They were dressed like gardaí in combat gear - they had the helmets, skis masks, bullet proof vests, overalls, combat boots and carrying AK47s.

"They were right in front of me. They pointed the gun at my head and one said 'get the f*** out of here'.

"They walked in and one of them let off a shot. I didn't know where to go, I stood there still," he said.

"Next thing 14 or 15 (people) started running out of the place. I still thought it was guards at this stage. I thought it was a garda raid. They were in the hotel for about two minutes. There was a load of people sprinting out, running out.

"There was at least a dozen shots let off. It sounded like 'pop, pop, pop'. I was just standing there. One or two ran out crying. I didn't even think."

Minutes later at 2.30pm, the killers emerged.

"The three men ran out. I'm standing beside the van. They shouted, 'he's not f***ing in there, he's not f***ing in there, go, go, go, f***ing go'.

"They sped off down the road towards Grace Park Manor. They stopped for a few seconds at the gates. I thought they were going to spin around but they didn't. They went through the gates.

"There was just commotion, people screaming. They were all screaming 'get the f*** out of here, get the f*** out of here'.

"There was loads jumping into cars, wheels spinning off onto the main road. It was crazy. It was f***ing madness. People didn't know what was going on.

"There was a lad in a white top with a gunshot wound to his stomach saying 'I've been shot'. There was blood on his white shirt. He was quite calm actually.

"Jamie Kavanagh came outside. He stood there frozen. A few minutes later, I started seeing him getting sick.

"Guards started coming quite slowly. It took them forever.

"There was innocent people caught up in this madness. Children were crying.

"The guards came. One man was blocked in by their car and was shouting 'let me f**ing out, let me f**king out'.

"The gunmen had Dublin accents. It seemed like they knew who they were going for."

A second eyewitness gave his version as he left the weigh-in.

"We left and outside the front door, we heard somebody come running out the front door saying, 'it has all kicked off' followed by a few others. I had no idea what it was about.

"The next thing I heard the shot and these two individuals came running out from behind the van up the steps. One of them fired in the direction of the door. I didn't see any damage so whether it was blanks I don't know.

"You could hear screaming inside and more shots going off inside. One of the two guys, carrying an AK47, jumped up onto the reception counter. They both had AK47s. There was shots going on inside. There were people trying to get out, there were women screaming.

"In the meantime, there was a guy walking up the opposite side of the road from the hotel and I heard a shot and whoever fired the shot screamed at a man 'to get the f*** out of here'.

"He was just an ordinary punter it seems. He ended up running into a bush. I think he ended up climbing over a wall to get away.

" I didn't want to move out beyond that van in case he (the gunman) saw me or gave me a fright. He was also dressed in the garda ERU (uniform).

"I heard a man dressed as a woman, say 'he's not f***ing here, I can't find him.' He was wearing a long blonde wig. I didn't see if he was armed.

"The other guy roared back, 'get the f*** out of here' just as the other two came out the front door and came out past me and went down to the silver transit van and they all bundled into this van. Four all together (the three disguised gunmen and the man dressed as a woman).

"The guards came along then," he said.

Timeline of gun attack at hotel

2.05pm: Weigh-in for boxing event Clash of  The Clans - promoted by boxing agency MGM - gets under way in a function room in the Regency Airport Hotel in Drumcondra, north Dublin.

2.25pm: Weigh-in is still under way when a commotion begins in the function room.

2.27pm: Man seen leaving front of hotel saying, 'It's all kicking off in there'. One gunshot rings out.

2.28pm: Two men dressed in fake Garda ERU uniforms and carrying two AK47 assault rifles enter the front entrance of the hotel. One man fires a shot as he enters the hotel reception.

2.29pm: Dozens of men, women and children attempt to flee the hotel as gunshots are fired.

2.30pm: One of the two men climbs onto the reception desk counter as a bystander cowers down behind the desk. The man fires six or seven shots towards the lobby.

2.32 - 2.33pm: Two men exit the hotel through the front entrance, passing an innocent bystander. They then move towards the rear of the hotel. They are met by accomplices coming from the hotel. A third man is seen dressed in a fake Garda ERU uniform and similarly armed with an assault rifle. A man disguised as a woman in a long blonde wig and grey dress meets these two men.

The man disguised as the woman says: "I can't find him. I don't know where he f****** is". One of the other men says: "Get the f*** out of here". Both speak with Dublin accents. The four climb into a silver Transit 03 D reg van and drive off towards an estate to the rear of the hotel and do not return.

2.35pm: Children are huddled alongside adults close to the hotel's exterior in fear that the gunmen will come back.

2.40pm: Gardaí arrive at the scene and one man is pronounced dead. Two men are rushed to hospital for treatment for gunshot injuries. Gardaí seal off the scene and an investigation gets under way.

Irish Independent

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