Belfast Telegraph

Shot girl 'was mistakenly targeted'

A teenage girl gunned down in a drive-by shooting was an innocent child mistakenly targeted by her killers, her family have said.

Melanie McCarthy, 16, also known by the surname McNamara, was blasted in the head as she sat in a car with her boyfriend and two others in Tallaght, Dublin, on Tuesday night.

It is believed the gunman, who had pulled up alongside the car at Brookview Way in a stolen black Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, opened fire with a shotgun before speeding off from the scene.

Detectives are working on a theory that the young victim may have been mistakenly hit during an indiscriminate attack linked to feud between Traveller families. "It is believed she may not have been the intended target," said a garda source.

The girl's aunt, who answered the door at her house in the Drumcairn Avenue area of Tallaght, said Melanie was in the wrong place at the wrong time. "She was an innocent child, she had nothing to do with anything," she said. "She didn't deserve it. She wasn't the target. She was never involved in anything in her life."

Ms McCarthy was sitting in the back passenger side seat of a silver-coloured Nissan Almera car with three men in their 20s, one of them her boyfriend, when the gunman struck at around 10.35pm.

At least one shot was fired from the Hyundai into the car, shattering the side window and hitting the teenager in the head. She was two weeks from her 17th birthday.

The driver of the Nissan rushed her to Tallaght Hospital but despite intensive efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead around 1am.

Ms McCarthy was thought to have been living in Tallaght for some time but had previously been living in the Gortboy area of Newcastle West in Co Limerick.

The Hyundai, which fled the estate at speed, was later found abandoned in the CityWest area, near Brown's Barn restaurant. It was not burned out and detectives are to carry out forensic tests on the vehicle.

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