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'A very, very dangerous and volatile situation' - two gardaí injured in shooting during siege at house in Blanchardstown

  • Two garda detectives injured in terrifying shooting incident yesterday evening
  • Man arrested shortly after 9.30pm, two firearms were recovered by gardaí
  • Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was “shocked” to hear of the incident. 

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Forensic Gardai at Whitechapel Grove in Blanchardstown, as two members of An Garda Síochána are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. Pic:Mark Condren

Forensic Gardai at Whitechapel Grove in Blanchardstown, as two members of An Garda Síochána are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. Pic:Mark Condren

Armed Garda pictured at the scene of the siege at the Whitechapel Estste near Blanchardstown. Picture: Frank McGrath

Armed Garda pictured at the scene of the siege at the Whitechapel Estste near Blanchardstown. Picture: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gardaí at the scene of an armed siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo: Frank McGrath

Armed Garda pictured at the scene of an siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo:Frank McGrath

Armed Garda pictured at the scene of an siege at the Whitechapel estste near Blanchardstown. Photo:Frank McGrath

The scene at Whitechapel Grove in Blanchardstown, as two members of An Garda Síochána are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds Pic: Mark Condren

The scene at Whitechapel Grove in Blanchardstown, as two members of An Garda Síochána are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds Pic: Mark Condren

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Forensic Gardai at Whitechapel Grove in Blanchardstown, as two members of An Garda Síochána are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. Pic:Mark Condren

Two garda detectives were injured in a terrifying shooting incident in west Dublin yesterday evening.

It is suspected that a notorious gangland criminal fired the shots which led to two gardaí being injured in a gun attack in Blanchardstown.

The incident unfolded at Whitechapel Grove in the Coolmine area of Dublin 15 shortly after 7pm.

Both of the officers were shot in the foot and are being treated in hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

A man was arrested shortly after 9.30pm and it is understood that two firearms were recovered by gardaí.

Sources say it is possible that attempted murder charges may follow.

"Tonight is a reminder of how dangerous it is for our gardaí who go out every day,” Chief Supt Finbarr Murphy told reporters at a midnight press conference following the incident. "Well done to them tonight, everyone did a brilliant job,” he said.

This morning the scene of the shooting remained sealed off as Gardai awaited the arrival of the garda technical bureau to carry out a forensic examination of the area.

Two bullet holes could be seen in the window of the bedroom of one of the houses, and beside them a mark on a wall where another bullet hit.

These are believed to be from garda weapons as they returned fire having being shot at on the street from the window.

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An unmarked Hyundai garda car remained outside.

It was behind this vehicle the Gardai who were shot at are believed to have taken cover before being hit by rounds fired from the window.

One neighbour reported hearing two bursts of gunfire.

“There was an initial few shots, and then a couple of minutes later there was more,” she said.

Members of the garda technical bureau began a detailed assessment of the scene this morning, with a lot of attention on the garda vehicle that was hit with a number of bullets.

They could be seen looking under the car, and inserting long thin rods into the bullet holes in the vehicle to determine the trajectory of the bullets.

One of the rods appeared to point back up towards the room the gunman was firing from, and Gardai placed a laser on the end of the rod which could be seen reflecting off a white card being held by another forensic team member in the bedroom of the house.

It is understood that a machine pistol may have been used to fire at the male officers and that the suspect had fired multiple shots at gardaí from a bedroom window of the property.

However gardaí are also investigating reports that a shotgun may have also been used by the feared criminal who is considered “extremely volatile”.

Senior sources have revealed that gardaí had recently visited the house to serve a GIM form on the shooting suspect who is classified as one of the capital’s most dangerous criminals. This was an official message to warn him of an active threat against his life from rival criminals.

The suspect who is aged in his 30s has multiple previous convictions for serious crime and is extremely well known to gardaí.

His associates have been involved in a bitter feud with notorious local criminal Jason ‘Jay’ O’Connor as part of a deadly falling out between former associates in the notorious Westies when the north Dublin gang imploded over 15 years ago and the former pals took separate sides.

The two gardaí who were shot are detectives based in Blanchardstown garda station and sources say that “they are lucky that they were not seriously injured or worse”.

After the officers were shot, the suspect barricaded himself into his home leading gardaí to declare a “media blackout” because “a siege situation has emerged” and they requested that the media not report on the incident.

Footage

Shocking video footage shows an injured garda being helped away from the scene by his colleagues after being apparently shot in the foot.

The injured garda is helped by a member of the emergency response unit and another colleague while another armed response officer shields them.

More colleagues run towards the group helping the injured garda and he is then lifted into the air and hurried away from the scene to a waiting ambulance.

Other footage shows a number of both armed and unarmed gardaí taking shelter behind a garda car while the situation unfolded.

Angry shouting can be heard coming from a house while a female voice tries to calm the suspect down.

A man can be heard threatening to “burn you alive” and to “take your f***ing head off”.

One man videoing the shocking daylight scene comments that gardaí are “hiding from a fella with a gun”.

Footage shows two gardai - both who appeared to be shot – being helped into two different ambulances which had been parked around the corner from the scene.

The area was flooded with armed response unit members and other gardaí wearing bullet proof vests as locals watched on.

It has emerged that the incident began when gardaí were called to the property after receiving reports that the suspect had been acting aggressively towards a female relation of his shortly after 7pm.

It is understood that she was unhurt during the incident.

Sources say that two male detectives who called to the house were “sprayed with machine gun fire”.

It is understood that both gardaí were each shot in the foot and one of the two officers were also shot in the hand.

Members of the Armed Support Unit and Emergency Response Unit both rushed to the scene and two safety cordons were put in place.

The Garda’s Hostage Negotiator Unit were also in attendance and worked with a local detective who knows the suspect.

“Eventually he threw a loaded machine pistol and a handgun out of the property and he was then arrested,” a senior source said.

“There was one bullet in the machine gun – this was a very, very dangerous and volatile situation but it ended after two and a half hours,” the source added.

“One male is currently in custody in Blanchardstown garda station. Two Garda members are currently being treated at Connolly Memorial Hospital for non-life threatening gun shot wounds,” a garda spokesman said.

A number of local residents were forced to wait outside the gates to the Millennium Park located across the street from the main entrance to the estate during the siege.

A man who lives in the housing estate said he was waiting for his wife outside the local Iceland shop when he heard a succession of shots being fired.

“I was sitting in my car in the Iceland parking lot waiting for the missus and I heard ‘bang, bang, bang,” he told the Irish Independent.

Another local man said gardaí would not tell residents what was going on other than they couldn’t return to their homes for the time being.

He said locals turned to Facebook in an attempt to find out what was transpiring, but they were largely in the dark as to what had happened, but they knew it was serious.

“It seemed like every garda car in the country is going up that street,” he said, pointing to the main entrance to the estate where the flashing blue lights of a number of garda cars parked near the scene of the stand-off could be seen from the park gates.

Commenting on the policing operation, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said: "I want to commend all the gardaí involved in securing a successful outcome to this firearms incident. In particular, the bravery of the two detectives who were first on scene.

"This was another in a long line of examples of gardaí putting themselves on the line to keep people safe. I want to wish them a speedy recovery."

“My thoughts are with the two members of An Garda Síochána who sustained injuries while responding to an incident in Blanchardstown this evening, and with their families.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was “shocked” to hear of the incident. 

“I was shocked and deeply concerned to learn that two Gardaí were injured in the course of their duties this evening,” he said. 

“I wish both Gardaí a swift and full recovery, and I thank them for their service on behalf of the public.

“This incident in Dublin shows yet again the danger An Garda Síochána often face in their efforts to protect and serve the people.

“We should always be very grateful for all the work they do on a daily basis on our behalf.”

Justice Minister Heather Humphreys “commended the professionalism” of gardaí involved in the shooting incident in Blanchardstown on Tuesday.

She said it was “a very dangerous and serious incident” but commended the force for “achieving a successful outcome”.

Speaking at Government Buildings, she said: “I think it's important that we remember when gardaí put on the uniform in the morning, they don't know what they're going to face during the day but they are there to protect us as a people. I just want to thank them for that, and to acknowledge their bravery.

"I'd also like to wish the two gardaí who were injured last night a speedy recovery and again I want to acknowledge the other first responders that were on the scene as well. So, as I said, it was a difficult situation, but it was resolved.”

Ms Humphreys thanked the media for adhering to the blackout order issued on Tuesday night.

However, she said she would raise the issue of social media posts about the incident while it was ongoing with social media companies.

“If we do need to make changes or there is something we can improve upon I am happy to bring that forward,” she said.

She said the issue of having more local armed support units was an operational matter for gardaí and that she would discuss it with the Garda Commissioner if he raises it with her.


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