By Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
Thursday February 19 2009
Dublin's gangland is braced for further bloodshed after the murder of a major drug dealer in a city pub.
‘Champagne’ Johnny Carroll (33) was gunned down as he drank in Grumpy Jack’s pub in the Coombe at 9.35pm last night. He was hit by up to six rounds from a 9mm handgun by a masked gunman who strolled into the bar and singled him out.
The victim, from Ffrench Mullen flats, Charlemont Street area of the south inner city, was a leading figure in a Coolock and Baldoyle based criminal gang suspected of importing large amounts of heroin into the country in horse boxes from the UK.
Gardai believe that his killing, in full view of other drinkers, could be linked to a dispute between the gang and the Dublin unit of the INLA over drug money.
The INLA’s Dublin unit it is widely suspected of extorting money from drug dealers, and members have clashed with criminal gangs in the city in the past.
But officers also examining any links between the killing and any recent drug seizures, which may have been overseen by Carroll, and which may have led to the loss of a significant amount of drugs and cash.
A source said: “It’s early days but the motive was definitely drugs related. Carroll was very active in the Baldoyle and Coolock area on the Northside and we’ll be looking at any conflicts he had with INLA figures in that part of the city.”
The murder was the sixth gangland killing this year.
Carroll was initially hit in the stomach and backside with a single round, and tried to stumble for his life from the bar, before the killer fired five more rounds at him.
Two of his terrified pals, both in their 30s, dived for cover as Carroll was gunned down. His killer, wearing a balaclava, then walked from the bar, as Carroll lay fatally injured on the floor at the rear of the pub.
Gardai say that the killer may have made his escape, with the help of an accomplice, on a black motorcycle, along Dean Street.
Local officers from Kevin Street were on the scene in less than a minute, and Carroll was rushed to St James’s Hospital to undergo emergency surgery. He died at 11.30pm, despite medics’ best efforts to save him.
The chief of detectives in the south inner city, Det Supt PJ Browne, said tonight: “This was a discriminate and deliberate shooting, which put the lives of innocent people at great risk.
“We need to speak to anyone who was in the Park Terrace area from 9pm onwards. They can contact our team in complete confidence.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact officers on 01 666 9400, or the garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.
Carroll was known to gardai, and was a focus of attention for local detective units at Kevin Street, along the Garda National Drugs Unit, under Operation Abalone.
Gardai suspect he was involved in the supply of drugs to areas of the north city, importing heroin in horse boxes from the UK. He is believed to have worked with a number of gangs, mostly on the Northside.
He had come under major garda pressure in recent months as officers moved in on his alleged operation, but he did not have previous convictions.
Grumpy Jack’s has been the scene of violence in the past, and a high profile incident outside the bar almost two years ago saw members of the INLA involved in a street fight with local criminals.
That row, in June 2007, led to a number of tit-for-tat attacks between the INLA unit and a Southside gang.
- Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon