Gardaí seek motive after west Dublin murder
Victim was shot repeatedly and sustained as many as 14 bullet wounds as he died
Flowers at the scene of Saturday morning’s fatal shooting on Harelawn Green, Clondalkin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Gardaí are trying to piece together the final movements of a man shot repeatedly in the head as he lay dying on the ground, in the hope they can establish a clear motive for his killing.
Senior officers investigating the murder of Dean Johnson in the early hours of Saturday morning said they were shocked at the level of violence used. The 21 year old from the Greenfort area of Clondalkin, not far from where he was shot, was initially wounded once in the upper body.
When he fell to the ground, the gunman stood over him and emptied up to 13 further shots into him, mostly to the head. The gunman, aided by at least two accomplices, used a semi-automatic handgun, possibly a Glock.
The dead man was known to gardaí, but he was regarded as a low-level operator in the drug trade rather than a major gangland figure. Unlike the victims of many drug-related shootings, he had not been issued with a warning by gardaí that his life was under threat and gardaí had no intelligence to suggest his life was at risk.
He was fatally wounded at 12.20am on Saturday at Harelawn Green, Clondalkin, Dublin.
He had been involved in a serious group fight at the Square Shopping Centre, Tallaght, west Dublin, on Friday. Mr Johnson was with a number of friends queuing for concert tickets when they clashed with another group of young men in what gardaí said was a very serious incident.
Gardaí were called and arrested a number of those present, including Mr Johnson, on suspicion of public order offences. Mr Johnson was released from custody without charge after a number of hours. When released, he went to a pub in Clondalkin where he is believed to have spent most of Friday drinking. He was involved in an altercation at the pub but gardaí believe this was relatively low level and was linked to the fact he was drunk and creating a disturbance.
While that row is being probed by the Garda as part of the murder investigation, detectives do not believe there is any link between it and the killing shortly afterwards.
Links to drug trade
The much more serious group fight in Tallaght on Friday is being actively explored as a possible motive for Mr Johnson’s murder, as are his links to the drug trade and any localised disputes he was involved in. Gardaí believe the killing was well-planned and involved three men.
“Initially there were some reports it was mistaken identity but we don’t think so, and it looks like he was shot by someone who very much had it in for him given the number of rounds used,” said one Garda source.
Gardaí, responding to an emergency call, arrived at the scene of the shooting and found Mr Johnson on the pavement with a number of local people around him. The area was sealed off and the victim was taken to Tallaght hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12.50am.
Gardaí are interested in the movements of a car which was found on fire at Collinstown Crescent and from which three men were seen running.
They are interested in the movements of the black Vauxhall Vectra prior to it being abandoned. The registration is 99 DL 7997 and the car had tinted windows.