Monday 23 October 2017

Video: 'Gunshots were so close you could smell the powder'

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THE woman walking her children home from school yesterday afternoon had never heard a gunshot in her life.

But on Tuesday night the fatal shotgun blast was close enough to "smell the powder" as murder visited Tallaght's Brookview Way estate.

Flowers and tributes lay against a wall outside a single-storey house as residents came to terms with the horror.

They were surrounded by a garda cordon, marking the spot where 16-year-old Melanie McCarthy-McNamara was gunned down as she sat in a car.

One yellow bouquet had the simple message: "RIP Melanie. You were a lovely person and will B sadly missed."

Officers conducted door-to-door enquiries in a desperate attempt to piece together the movements of the black Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, carrying the person who blasted the teenager before speeding off.

The street is made up of a mix of single-storey and two-storey council houses with some neat gardens surrounded by fences.

Residents mingled to talk of the shocking attack on the teenage girl as children played close by, and the majority of those who spoke to the Irish Independent did not wish to be named.

All said they heard two loud bangs, but when they came out of their houses both vehicles had sped off.

The local woman with her children said she had been living on the street for 10 years and had never experienced violence in the area before.

"You could hear the gunshots, they were real loud," she said.

"You could smell the powder. I've never heard a gunshot ever go off in my life, but you could tell there was something going on."

The woman said she saw the black Hyundai drive beside the silver car in which Melanie was a passenger and fire twice.

"The first time he missed, and the second time he got the young one," she said.

But another girl, who lives nearby, said the area had been plagued with drugs and that it was a dangerous place to be walking around if you were not from the area. "Some people think it's quiet here, but a lot goes on. I wouldn't recommend anybody walks down here, especially this street," she said.

Bangs

None of those questioned knew Melanie, or those in the car with her.

Michael Gaffney (22) said he heard two bangs but by the time he got to the street both cars were gone.

"It's an alright area, but after dark it wouldn't be very safe," he said.

Local Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe said tensions were mounting in the area, with several shooting incidents and petrol- and pipe-bomb attacks on houses.

"There has also been widespread intimidation that has resulted in families being forced out of their homes," he said. "The shooting of this young girl has ratcheted up the level of tension in the area and community and youth leaders are very worried at the widespread availability of weapons."

Irish Independent

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