Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Dublin Regency Hotel attack: Gardai hunt man disguised in dress and blonde wig after fatal shooting at Drumcondra boxing weigh-in

BBC Northern Ireland reporter has weapon pointed at him

Published 06/02/2016

Gunmen disguised as Gardai walk calmly into a Dublin hotel, then kill a man at boxing event in a hail of bullets [File photo]
Gunmen disguised as Gardai walk calmly into a Dublin hotel, then kill a man at boxing event in a hail of bullets [File photo]
Forensic officers outside the Regency Hotel where hooded gunmen in Garda-style uniform carried out a murderous raid
Hooded gunmen in Garda-style uniform carried out a murderous raid
One of the victims is carried to an ambulance
Gardai outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PA
A Garda outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PA
A general view of the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PA
A Garda (centre) speaks to patrons outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 5, 2016. The attack happened while a boxing tournament weigh-in was going on at the hotel on Swords Road, around three kilometres north of the city centre. See PA story POLICE Shooting. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Marty Curran handout photo of emergency services outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin as one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 5, 2016. The attack happened while a boxing tournament weigh-in was going on at the hotel on Swords Road, around three kilometres north of the city centre. See PA story POLICE Shooting. Photo credit should read: Marty Curran/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Marty Curran handout photo of emergency services outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin as one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 5, 2016. The attack happened while a boxing tournament weigh-in was going on at the hotel on Swords Road, around three kilometres north of the city centre. See PA story POLICE Shooting. Photo credit should read: Marty Curran/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
A Garda cordon outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 5, 2016. The attack happened while a boxing tournament weigh-in was going on at the hotel on Swords Road, around three kilometres north of the city centre. See PA story POLICE Shooting. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Gardai outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PA
A Garda cordon outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PA
Gardai outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. PA
Reports of shots fired at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road, Whitehall, in Drumcondra Dublin 9. Image: Google Maps

Gardai are hunting four men - one possibly wearing a dress and wig - after a man was shot dead by a 'police-style uniform wearing' gang that stormed the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra, Dublin.

The victim has been named locally as David Byrne (34) from Raleigh Square in Crumlin.

Two other men, in their 20s or 30s, were injured in the incident that happened around 2.30pm on the Swords Road in the north of the city.

One witness told independent.ie the gunmen had 'GARDA ERU' - for the Emergency Response Unit -  in yellow letters on the back of bullet proof vests and carrying what looked like AK47s.

Their faces were completely covered but they spoke with "strong Dublin accents".

Two of the gunmen who were dressed in the fake garda uniforms entered the hotel through the front entrance. A third man who was also dressed in the fake uniform stayed outside the hotel and was seen firing at least one shot.

A man dressed in a long blonde wig and a grey dress was part of the four-man killing squad. It's not clear if he was armed.

The man who was dressed in woman's clothing emerged from the rear of the hotel and was heard shouting: "He's not f*****g here. I can't find him."

The third gunman roared back: "Let's get f*****g out of here."

The gunmen escaped the scene in a van which was found burnt out in the Charlemont Estate shortly after the incident.

The men are understood to have then escaped on foot through St Vincent's GAA club towards Killester.

Chief Superintendent Barry O’Brien from Ballymun said that they were looking for four assailants, two of whom ewer described as wearing “SWAT type police uniforms with metal helmets, the likes of which you would see in a crime drama.”

Reporter 'had gun pointed at him'

A BBC Radio Foyle reporter, who was at the hotel, said one of the gunman pointed a weapon at him during the attack.

Mr McAnena told BBC NI: "I heard two loud gunshots from outside coming into the hotel.

"At which point, two men, who I thought were [police] officers - turns out they were just dressed up in [police] uniform - came in with guns."

"[Police] have told me since that [the guns] were AK47 rifles. It's so surreal, it just happened so quickly, right in front of me. A man was shot dead six feet away from me - it's hard to gather your thoughts right now."

Detectives are trying to establish a motive for the murder. 

One line of inquiry is that it could be connected to the murder of Gary Hutch, who was shot dead in Spain last September.

In recent months there have been heightened tensions surrounding the Kinahan gang since the murder of Mr Hutch.

Boxing match cancelled

On their Facebook page, the promoters MGM had advertised an official weigh-in for 'Clash of the Clans' Show at the Regency, which was due to begin at 2pm on Friday afternoon.

Gary Corcoran was facing Danny Butler on the Saturday night card while the headline bout would have seen Jamie Kavanagh take on Joao Bento for the vacant WBO European Lightweight Title.

Kavanagh is the son of Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh, and he is managed by Daniel Kinahan.

Saturday night's card at the National Arena in Tallaght was due to be broadcast live on Box Nation but has now been cancelled.

Gardai have appealed for anyone who was in the area of the Regency Hotel or who may have information to contact Ballymun Garda Station on 01 666 4400.

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'I begged for my life from behind reception desk as killer pointed gun at me'

Staff, fight fans, guests, tourists... all in state of disbelief  

 

How the attack unfolded

2.05pm: Weigh-in for professional boxing event Clash of The Clans – promoted by boxing agency MGM – gets under way in a function room in the Regency Airport Hotel in Drumcondra, north Dublin.

2.25pm: Weigh-in is still under way when a commotion begins in the function room.

2.27pm: Man seen leaving front of hotel saying: “It’s all kicking off in there.” One gunshot rings out.

2.28pm: Two men dressed in fake Garda ERU uniforms and carrying AK47 assault rifles enter the front entrance of the hotel. One man fires a shot as he enters hotel reception.

2.29pm: Dozens of men, women and children attempt to flee hotel as gunshots are fired.

2.30pm: One of the two men climbs onto the reception desk counter as a bystander cowers down behind the desk. The man fires six or seven shots towards the lobby.

2.32 – 2.33pm: Two men exit the hotel through the front entrance, passing an innocent bystander. They then move towards the rear of the hotel.

They are met by accomplices coming from the hotel. A third man is seen dressed in a fake Garda ERU uniform and similarly armed with an assault rifle. A man disguised as a woman in a long blonde wig and grey dress meets these two men.

The man disguised as the woman says: “I can’t find him. I don’t know where he f****** is.”

One of the other men says: “Get the f*** out of here.” Both speak with Dublin accents. The four climb into a silver Transit 03 D registration van and drive off towards an estate to the rear of the hotel and do not return.

2.35pm: Children are huddled alongside adults close to the hotel’s exterior in fear that the gunmen will come back.

2.40pm: Gardaí arrive at the scene and one man is pronounced dead.

Two men are rushed to hospital for treatment for gunshot injuries. Gardaí seal off the scene and an investigation gets under way.

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