Gangsters exchange fire in 'wild west' shootout

‘WILD WEST’: Target takes out gun and shoots back on street in dawn showdown

Cormac Byrne

GANGSTERS exchanged gunfire at 7.30am during an audacious murder attempt.

The prevalance of guns on the streets of Dublin was further evident when the criminals opened fire on each other.

The 35-year-old intended victim of an assassination pulled his own gun when shot at in the early morning. Three men had pulled up in a black BMW car and fired at least a dozen shots at the man in daylight.

The Wild West-style confrontation occurred in Knowth Court, Ballymun. Automatic weapons are increasingly available on city streets, gardai said.

"This was a very unusual incident to say the least," a source told the Herald.

"Gun attacks at that time in the morning are very rare and it's even more rare for the target to produce his own weapon and fire back.

"It's like something out of the Wild West, with gangland gun slingers."

At least a dozen shots were fired from the BMW, forcing the intended victim to dive for cover. He then produced his own gun and fired at least one shot in retaliation.

After a brief standoff the men in the car fled in the incident last Wednesday.

Gardai rushed to the area where the target of the shooting was arrested after miraculously escaping the attack without injury.

He was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and questioned at Ballymun Garda Station.

He was released after midday the following day without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Detectives are trying to establish a motive for the attack.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have any information on the shooting is asked to contact Ballymun Garda Station on (01) 6664400 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Knowth Court is a well-maintained estate that primarily houses young families.

Just hours before the Ballymun incident, a 31-year-old male was shot four times by two masked gunmen as he was watching TV on his couch in west Dublin -- in an unrelated incident.

At around 9.35pm there was a knock on the front door of his house in Wheatfield Close, Clondalkin.

It is understood that the victim was struck a number of times, once in the left hand, twice in the right arm, and in the right thigh.

It is the second time this year that the victim has been targeted after he lost part of his finger in a samurai sword attack in his house.

He told gardai investigating that incident that he had fallen down the stairs.

Gardai were alerted to Tuesday night's shooting after a number of the victim's neighbours reported hearing gunshots in the area.

The victim was found bleeding inside the house and was rushed to Tallaght Hospital.

Anyone who witnessed the shooting or the assailants entering or exiting the victim's house is asked to contact Clondalkin Garda Station on (01) 6667600 or the Garda Confidential Line.

Both shootings remain under investigation.