By Ralph Riegel
Thursday January 21 2010
Gardai fear a gangland war could erupt in Cork after the brutal drug-related slaying of Ger Stanton (42).
Stanton -- who was associated with one of the city's biggest drug gangs -- was murdered in an execution-style shooting just metres from the front door of his Wilton home last night.
Detectives now fear the killing may be linked to a deadly turf war between two crime gangs -- one of whom has links to the notorious gang at the centre of Limerick's bloody crime feud.
Gardai are now on high alert in case of potential retaliatory attacks in Cork.
Stanton's shooting is the seventh murder in Ireland in the past 14 days. Originally from Knocknaheeny on Cork's northside, Stanton was shot with a double-barrelled shotgun.
Stanton was caught by the shotgun blast seconds after he opened the door of his rented house and walked to collect something from his Audi A4 car parked in the driveway.
The two shotgun cartridges caught him full in the chest and head, inflicting horrific injuries.
He apparently tried to stagger back to the shelter of his house but collapsed from his injuries onto his driveway.
The gunman immediately fled the scene in a waiting van.
Gardai were later notified of a burning van found at Waterfall on the outskirts of the city shortly after 9pm.
The vehicle was expected to be forensically examined today to see if it is linked to the killing.
Gardai were at the scene in Wilton within minutes and paramedics rushed the wounded man to Cork University Hospital (CUH) which is located less than 1km from where the shooting occurred. Despite frantic efforts by doctors to stabilise his condition, Stanton died a short time later.
Distraught members of his family later visited the West Lawn house to comfort his shocked partner. Ger Stanton had been living in the rented house with the woman and her two children for several months.
Gardai cordoned off the entire estate of terraced houses and ordered a full examination by technical, forensic and ballistic experts.
It is believed that the gunman and his getaway driver may have been laying in wait for him in the Wilton area for at least an hour before the shooting occurred.
Detectives last night began door-to-door inquiries to determine if anyone spotted the getaway van in the moments immediately before and after the shooting.
Residents were left deeply shocked by the killing which occurred in a quiet residential area.
Locals described the estate as very tranquil -- and regularly spotted the man playing football with the two children in his garden.
Gardai are now also checking CCTV security camera footage in the Wilton area to determine if the getaway van can be identified and whether cameras caught any suspicious activity in the minutes before the shooting.
Detectives are convinced the dead man's home must have been under surveillance for some time by his killers.
A full post mortem examination was scheduled to be carried out today by the State Pathologist's Office.
The killing is the first fatal gangland shooting in Cork in over three years.
- Ralph Riegel