By Isabel Hurley and Martina Devlin
Thursday December 27 2001
A MURDER hunt was under way in Dublin last night after a man was gunned down while walking in the centre of Tallaght.
The man was shot dead by a gunman who approached him from behind.
Gardai from the station a few hundreds yards away were quickly on the scene but the man, who had not been identified late last night, is believed to have died on the spot.
The area was immediately cordoned off and gardai were believed to be looking for a silver car, thought to be a Peugeot, seen leaving the area. It is the second fatal shooting in Dublin in a week.
As detectives carried out a detailed search of the crime scene, Sgt John McGing, said there were witnesses to the shooting who were helping gardai. Among them was a woman who was walking very close to the victim when his killer struck. Despite her distress, she immediately contacted gardai.
Chief Supt Noel Smith, who left his home to attend the scene of the crime, described the killing as a "callous murder". He asked: "What kind of people would carry out something like this on St Stephen's Day?" While there appeared to be only one gunman, he seemed to have accomplices. "A car approached the man from behind and we don't know how many it contained, but there were at least three people in the car," Supt Smith said.
"One of the men got out and shot him from behind. We don't know how many times. He was hit in the head and died immediately."
Late last night, the body of the unidentified victim was still at the scene. He is described as in his late forties or early fifties, balding, with grey-to-white hair. Gardai redirected traffic away from the scene, where plastic sheeting had been placed over the corpse.
Detectives from the technical bureau at Garda Headquarters arrived to assist in the investigation and State Pathologist was also informed.
The shooting comes only five days after another brutal killing in the nearby suburb of Clondalkin. Simon Doyle was shot twice at close range by a lone gunman after he got out of his car in the early hours of Saturday morning. It is believed the victim had a number of previous convictions including one for assault and was suspected of drugs involvement.
The number of drugs-related killings has dropped recently, compared with last year, when fatal gangland shootings averaged almost one a month.
However, a man who was shot dead in the north-west of Dublin in November was thought to be the victim of a long-running feud between rival gangs seeking control over criminal activity in the Finglas/Cabra area of the city. The nephew of the November shooting victim had been killed in a gun attack almost exactly 12 months earlier.
- Isabel Hurley and Martina Devlin