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'Reckless and outrageous'

Manhunt after shocking scenes where crazed suspect shot at unarmed Gorey gardai

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Gardai at the sealed-off scene

Gardai at the sealed-off scene

Supt. Gerry McGrath

Supt. Gerry McGrath

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Gardai at the sealed-off scene

A large-scale Garda manhunt remains in place this week following a terrifying incident last Wednesday morning where unarmed local gardai were shot at by a known criminal.

Gardaí say they are determined to bring the culprits to justice, and are particularly appealing to those who may recall seeing a blue BMW 318 with registration 06 W 1012 in the North Wexford area between January 12 and January 29.

'We are still appealing for witnesses to come forward and are continuing house to house inquiries. This is an active and well resourced investigation and we're very determined to bring it to a conclusion,' said Sgt Stephen Ennis of Gorey Garda Station.

The extraordinary chain of events began at approximately 8.30 a.m. last Wednesday when gardai responded to reports of a blue BMW 318 acting in an unusual manner at Gorey Hill.

When the two Gorey-based gardai arrived at the scene they were confronted and threatened by a man armed with a handgun. The suspect then fled the area in the blue BMW 318, with the two gardai in pursuit for around six kilometre, before the man met up with a waiting accomplice. Twice the suspect slowed down his car and fired a shot at the pursuing unarmed uniform gardai.

The unarmed gardai were forced to back-off and by the time that armed back-up arrived, and in the meantime the BMW which had been used by the shooter, was discovered burnt out in Banntown, just outside Craanford village.

It is believed the man who was confronted by gardai was in area to target a member of one of the country's most prolific burglary gangs.

Gardai believe that the shocking incident had all the hallmarks of serious criminality.

There were many eye witnesses to the high speed chase, such as parents dropping children to school at that time of the morning.

Speaking outside Gorey Garda Station on Wednesday evening, Superintendent Gerard McGrath confirmed that the two shots were fired separately at a garda patrol car, and that both gardaí involved were unharmed.

'Two uniformed members responded to the call and on arrival they encountered a male that was well disguised. He produced a hand gun to the members, before getting into a blue BMW reg 06 W 1012, which then moved off at high speed.

'The members pursued this vehicle on the Carnew road, and just a short distance up that road, the car was seen to jam on its brakes and discharge a shot in the vicinity of the garda members.

'Just a short distance up the road, a second shot was discharged at the garda car and the members then lost sight of the BMW. Shortly after this, we recovered the BMW in a burnt out state in Banntown, just outside Craanford village.

'This male, that we believe was driving the vehicle, was then seen getting into a second car, a dark grey black Skoda Fabia or a similar. There was a second person in that vehicle we believe, but we do not have a description or the direction the car was travelling.'

All avenues are being explored in this investigation, but a garda spokesperson described the men in question as dangerous.

The BMW is registered at an address in Dublin, but gardaí believe that the address is false, and they do not at this time have registration details for the Skoda as it has not been located.

The male driver of the BMW was described, as six foot tall of slim build, and he was wearing a long black jacket and hat, with a scarf over his face.

'The illegal discharge of firearms at any time is indeed a reckless act,' said Supt McGrath, 'and the illegal discharge of a firearm at unarmed members of An Garda Síochána is an outrageous act.' He thanked the public for coming forward with information so far.

Local councillor in the Craanford area Donal Kenny agreed that the actions of last week were reckless.

'I've teenage daughters and you'd be worried about what's coming down the tracks. As parents, there's no point us putting our head in the sand as this criminality is at everybodies doorstep. We have to face it and tackle it as best as we can.

'There has been a garda presence here the last few days, they are doing it very professionally as you'd expect and we appreciate it.

'It's something that unfortunately is the kind of thing that has come to every little parish. Where and how we're going to get a handle on it, I don't know but it's not looking great.

'Those fellas obviously have no problem about taking a life, it's a different level and it's not easy for the guards. The fear seems to be gone out of them, they work beyond fear,' he said.

Those who may have been in the area or witnessed any unusual activity in the Gorey, Craanford or Carnew areas on Wednesday last are asked to contact Gorey Garda Station at 053 9430690, the Garda Confidential Number 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Gardaí are especially appealing for any person driving or using the Gorey to Carnew Rd R725 between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. who may have dashcam footage to make contact.

Gorey Guardian