Gangsters videoed their crime boss accidentally blowing his head off with a handgun during a drink and drugs party, police the Republic have said.
Philip Collopy (29), a top member of a feared feuding gang in Limerick, apparently didn’t realise his Glock 9mm pistol was loaded when he pointed it at his head and pulled the trigger.
Investigating gardai were able to rule out any foul play in the death almost immediately after one of his associates handed over footage of the shooting he had taken on his mobile phone.
Five or six people at the party were all being “unusually fully co-operative” because they didn’t want to be done for the killing, said one Garda source.
Detectives believe Collopy, whose gang has been targeted by the Republic’s Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), was messing about with associates at his friend’s house in the early hours of Saturday morning when he unwittingly killed himself.
It is believed there were drink and drugs taken at the party. One of the men in the house, in troubled Limerick housing estate St Mary’s Park, ran outside for help and alerted two officers on patrol from the Garda’s armed Regional Support Unit, set up last year to tackle gangland violence in the city.
But despite their efforts in taking him to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, he died when his life-support machine was switched off at the weekend.
Collopy, who had a partner and several children, was a senior figure in the notorious Keane-Collopy crime gang, which has been locked in a murderous feud with arch-rivals, the Dundon-McCarthy faction.
Both sides were in talks last year to secure a ceasefire after an escalation in the eight-year bloody turf war.
Collopy was a suspect in the murder in 2000 of criminal Eddie Ryan, whose family then forged strong links with the Dundon-McCarthy faction.
The Republic’s CAB, which was set up after the gangland killing of journalist Veronica Guerin, last year seized a house, two cars and a substantial amount of cash from Collopy’s gang.