THERE are fears of a gang bloodbath on the streets of the capital, with associates of murdered gang boss Gintaras Zelvys (43) looking to avenge his murder, the Herald can reveal.
Gardai have increased armed patrols in the Clondalkin and Lucan areas of west Dublin after the gunning down of Zelvys, a savage criminal who tried to use his wife as a human shield when he was shot in Rathcoole on Wednesday morning.
His wife Edita Zelviene (33) said her family is struggling to come to terms with his death.
Edita was lucky to escape when the mobster grabbed her as the gunmen approached.
Speaking to the Herald last night, Ms Zelviene confirmed that she was with her husband when the incident occurred.
"I saw what happened. We're very upset and we are struggling to come to terms with it and prepare for the [funeral] arrangements," she added.
Like her husband, Ms Zelviene works in the cash-for-clothes business and operates an office in the Tougher Business Park in Newbridge.
She and her young son have been visited by a family liaison officer and are understood to be staying with friends since Wednesday's murder.
She has been interviewed by officers from Clondalkin, who are leading the murder investigation.
Meanwhile, in a disturbing incident that officers said was directly linked to the murder of Zelvys, a Lithuanian man was brutally assaulted at his home in Adamstown shortly after 9pm on Wednesday.
Sources have revealed that four Lithuanians arrived at the man's house and subjected him to a "bad beating".
A source said: "Gardai responded to the incident at the house in Adamstown. The injured party refused to make a complaint and refused medical assistance.
"No arrests were made, but all the parties involved are known to gardai. It is fair to say tensions are extremely high.
"Senior gardai have major concerns because of the vicious nature of the Lithuanian criminals involved in this. This could get very, very messy."
The incident in Adamstown happened just under 12 hours after Zelvys was gunned down in the Greenogue Industrial Estate in Rathcoole.
Sources say that officers are facing a wall of silence from most of the murdered criminal's associates, many of whom are active members of the Lithuanian mafia.
Two male former associates were last night being questioned at Clondalkin Garda Station about the murder.
Zelvys ran a Leinster-wide cash-for-clothes business and had only returned to Ireland days before his murder, having been deported when he finished a seven-year jail sentence last January.
Officers are working on the theory that the shooting is linked to a cash dispute in the clothes recycling trade, which is controlled by a number of eastern European gangs.
This is not the first time that violence has flared among gangs involved in the trade.
The 'clothes war' was linked to a near-fatal shooting of a Lithuanian man in Sandyford two years ago.
Virgis Aleksiunas (38) was hit in the chest and face as he was about to drive his son to school from their home in Aiken's Village, Sandyford, in March 2011.