Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Shot man may have been caught in crossfire of gangland assassination bid

Published 14/04/2016

A Garda spokesman said the man was in a serious condition
A Garda spokesman said the man was in a serious condition

A man shot dead outside a pub may have been c aught in the crossfire of a botched gangland assassination attempt.

The victim was gunned down on Lower Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner city as a lone gunman on a black bicycle opened fire.

Witnesses said they believed drug dealing was taking place outside Noctor's bar when the intended target, a convicted armed robber who lives locally, was alerted to the killer.

Locals reported a crowd scattered across the junction of Oriel Street as the gunman fired around six shots.

The dead man was hit as he attempted to flee behind the suspected target.

Gardai said the shooting - widely believed to be the fifth murder in a bitter feud between the Hutch and Kinahan families and their associates - took place at 12.25pm.

It happened less than 100 yards from a community and childcare centre and minutes before children were to go home for the afternoon and others were due to arrive.

Geraldine Comerford, manager at the North Wall CDP, said: "It's really tragic. It was obviously very, very bad, but it could have been worse.

"There's a young life lost for whatever reason and by all accounts it seems to be mistaken identity, but the reality is that if it is that, then the killers came looking for somebody else.

"It hasn't ended, and then the question is, is it just beginning again?"

Locals reported that the intended target, who has links to members of the Hutch family, was pushed out of the way by an accomplice man as the gunman approached.

Streets around the crime scene were closed for several hours for technical examinations while a blue forensic tent was erected where the dead man fell.

A gun and a bicycle were recovered in follow-up searches.

Murder squad detectives were unable to identify the man for several hours but he is believed to be in his 20s and from Dublin.

They said the killer wore dark clothes and was well built. H e abandoned the bike at the end of Sheriff Street and ran off.

Superintendent Kevin Gralton at Store Street Garda station said: "I would ask anybody that witnessed this shooting today to call us."

Workers in the CDP reported hearing a number of shots, with the attack lasting around one minute.

They also reported a lot of activity in the area at the time, with students at a Fas training centre, a youth centre around the corner and the St Laurence O'Toole girls' and boys' schools nearby.

Nial Ring, local Dublin city councillor, said: "The whole area is shocked and particularly at the indiscriminate nature of the shooting.

"Yes there was someone targeted, but with the creche and the local girl's school ready to come out it could have been a lot worse.

"You can't have gardai on the street corner 24 hours a day.

"This ongoing feud is taking other lives - first there was a man who had the misfortune to have the wrong name and now this man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

It is not the first time witnesses have reported seeing a gunman flee a broad-daylight murder on Sheriff Street on a bike.

Stephen Byrne, 32, was shot dead near St Laurence O'Toole Church in July 2007 with a killer cycling from the scene.

Since the early 2000s armed Garda patrols have been a frequent sight in the area, a stone's throw from Dublin's IFSC.

The first security operations were launched to stem a bloody feud in a gang once led by Christy Griffin and more recently officers have been dispatched to the streets as a war between some members of the Hutch family and their associates and the Spain-based Kinahans worsened.

It has been blamed for several gun murders, including one in Spain, two in Dublin and one in Ratoath, Co Meath.

Sheriff Street is about a mile from where taxi driver Eddie Hutch, brother of Gerry "The Monk" Hutch, was shot dead at his home off North Strand in February.

The Hutch-Kinahan feud spiralled into a killing spree when Gary Hutch was shot dead in an apartment complex near Marbella on the Costa del Sol last September.

His killing is believed to have been avenged in the Regency attack, which claimed the life of David Byrne, an associate of the Kinahans family.

Within days Eddie Hutch was dead, and at the end of last month Noel Duggan, an old friend of suspected armed robber Gerry "The Monk" Hutch, was shot dead at his home in Ratoath.

Sinn Fein Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald condemned the murder and called on people with information to go to gardai.

"This ruthless murder is another shocking incident which has taken place in broad daylight in the heart of our capital city," she said.

"The person responsible for this shooting must be brought to justice and I would appeal to anyone with any information whatsoever to bring it to the gardai.

"We cannot stand idly by while these gangsters walk our streets with impunity, while they take life without any fear of being caught and while they have our families and communities living in fear."

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph