Killing takes gun death toll up to 17
Latest gang victim was wearing a bullet-proof vest
By Tom Brady and Fiach Kelly
Saturday July 18 2009
A MAN shot dead on a suburban street yesterday was hit at least twice in the head after 11 shots were fired at him as he tried to flee.
The victim -- named last night as Anthony Cannon (26), originally from Robert Street in the south inner city Dublin -- had been wearing a bullet-proof vest.
The 12th victim of a bloody gangland feud, he was an associate of one of the gang leaders, who is currently in jail.
Cannon was gunned down near the junction of St Mary's Avenue West and Phoenix Street in Ballyfermot across the road from the Liffey Gaels GAA club at around 3.45pm.
His killer made his escape with an accomplice on a motorcycle.
This is the 17th gun murder so far this year, with 15 of them having taken place in Dublin.
Cannon was well known to gardai as a member of one of the feuding gangs but was not regarded as a major player in the Crumlin-Drimnagh warfare, which first erupted in 2000.
He had several criminal convictions, mostly for motoring offences, and was due to go on trial in the circuit court after being stopped while drink driving and in possession of a long knife, which had been concealed under a car seat.
In February last year he was given a six-month suspended sentence and disqualified from driving for 10 years after being found guilty of careless driving and giving a false name.
Cannon had also been fined for possession of cannabis resin in 2006 but had a charge of possession of ecstasy for sale or supply struck out in 2002.
He was also arrested for questioning in connection with another drugs seizure but was released without charge.
Intensive targeting of key gang figures and regular patrolling in the affected areas had resulted in a lull in the feuding. Shay O'Byrne, who was shot dead in front of his girlfriend and baby outside their Tallaght home last March, was the only victim in the past 31 months.
Gardai said last night that a man had been hit in the leg when shots were fired in through the window of his home in Drimnagh a few weeks ago and they were trying to establish if there was any connection between that incident and yesterday's murder.
Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, who was in Dunmanway in west Cork for the opening of a garda station, said last night he was appalled by the latest murder.
He said he had been briefed on the incident and pledged he would ensure that the funding available to him would be used to confront the challenge posed by the gangs.
"We have to face down these people who are committing terrible crimes. It has to stop and every effort will be made to bring those responsible to justice", he added.
Last night, gardai were looking for eyewitnesses, who might have witnessed the shooting or saw the gunman escape, in an area known locally as The Ranch.
They have established that Cannon was walking along the street and turned into a laneway leading to a football pitch used by the Liffey Gaels club.
There were also unconfirmed reports last night that Cannon may have been dropped off from a nearby car in the minutes before he was killed.
Cannon realised he was being followed and was attempting to climb a gate into the field when he was shot with a handgun.
Gardai said one of the bullets could have struck him while he lay on the ground.
The area was immediately sealed off for forensic examination by the garda technical bureau and cones were placed on the ground where bullet cartridges were found.
Cannon was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor.
Superintendent John Quirke appealed to elderly residents in the area in particular to contact Ballyfermot garda station.
"What appears to have happened ... is that a male was chased up the road on foot where he appears to have been shot," Supt Quirke said.
"The deceased was confirmed dead at the scene. The state pathologist has now visited the scene and there will a post mortem tomorrow morning.
"Two men were seen leaving on a small motorcycle and we believe they left in the direction of Sarsfield Road.
"We would appeal for anyone who was in the Sarsfield Road area around the 3.30pm mark today to contact Ballyfermot garda station where the incident room has been set up."
Gardai say that the culprits may have been wearing helmets at the time of the attack. They have appealed to anybody with information to contact them at Ballyfermot station, on 01 6667200, or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.
- Tom Brady and Fiach Kelly