Smoking row Irish pair shot at US bowling alley
The parents of an Irishman who was shot outside a New York bowling alley after he was thrown out for smoking inside the venue have flown to the US to be at their son's bedside.
Gerard Hourigan (29), from Upper Grange, Bruff, Co Limerick, was one of two Irishmen shot at a Queens bowling alley during an altercation with a security guard after the pair were escorted from the building for smoking. Mr Hourigan was shot in the stomach in the early hours of Saturday after he and his companion, Justin Donaghy (29), were brought out of the AMF 34th Avenue Lanes and a fight ensued with the security guard.
Mr Donaghy, from Meath, was also shot in the stomach, but both men are expected to survive the incident. They are also being charged in connection with the incident.
The men were out with their wives at the time.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department (NYPD) said both were in a stable condition in hospital. The bowling alley security guard, Michael Iavecchio (54), is a retired New York corrections officer. He has since been charged with two counts of second-degree assault after the altercation in the Woodside area of the New York borough.
Both of the assaulted men live in Woodside, which is well-known for its large Irish population.
The violent confrontation unfolded after Mr Iavecchio, who was armed, asked the men to leave the bowling alley because they were smoking cigarettes in a vestibule. The security guard escorted the men outside, where the ensuing fight and shooting were captured on CCTV.
According to investigating police, words were exchanged and a fight ensued before two gunshots were discharged, striking both friends. The incident happened at 1.50am.
Both victims were treated at the nearby Elmhurst hospital for their injuries. Mr Iavecchio was armed with a .380 calibre pistol, which he was licensed to carry. The two Irishmen are being charged with menacing.
Mr Hourigan's brother Ray flew to New York on Sunday with his parents, Tony and Eileen. "He's improving. Gerard is in a lot of pain, but hopefully he will be fine. It will just take a long time to recover," Ray told the Irish Independent from New York.
"It must have been an awful experience. Gerard works here as an electrician and is married to Julie. He is out here since February 2003. He is in intensive care at the moment, but he is receiving good care.
"His friend, Justin, is from Meath and is married to Bonnie. He was discharged from the intensive care unit on Sunday and is in a regular ward. I believe that he is making a good recovery."
Gerard Hourigan played underage hurling and football for Bruff and soccer with Holycross and Janesboro in Limerick.
Limerick county councillor Bill O'Donnell said the thoughts and prayers of all in the Bruff and Grange area were with the Hourigan family.
"Gerard is a grand, pleasant lad, who would never cause harm to anyone. This seems to be a very isolated incident with Gerard in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hopefully, he will make a full recovery," he said.
Source Irish Independent