Fatal gun attack rocks quiet village

Wed, Oct 17, 2012, 01:00

The murder of a man in a gangland-style attack has rocked a quiet rural village and left his family suffering a second tragedy.

Shane Rossiter became the 14th victim of gun crime this year when he was shot dead in a house just yards from a church in Golden, Co Tipperary, shortly before 7am.

The 30-year-old’s teenage brother Brian died 10 years ago after he fell into a coma in garda custody in their hometown of Clonmel.

His family, including parents Pat and Siobhan, had campaigned tirelessly for an inquiry, which later ruled there was no evidence of an assault on the 14-year-old who had been arrested for alleged public order.

A family friend said: “It’s tough going for them.” Rossiter, who was known to gardaí, is the fifth man to be shot dead since September.

He had drug and burglary convictions and detectives are probing several lines of inquiry, including if the killing was connected to a local feud over drugs or if the intended victim was a man from Crumlin, in Dublin, also in the property.

Gardaí appealed for any information on the movements of a black coloured car, or anyone acting suspiciously in the area overnight, to come forward.

The gun attack happened on Church Lane, yards from the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in the scenic village, which has a population of around 300.

Parish priest, Fr Pat O’Gorman, revealed he said morning mass for just one parishioner as the laneway was sealed off for a forensic examination.

“Naturally enough it was a shock to hear that this happened in an area like this,” he said.

“People were inquisitive about what was going on, and shocked.” Rossiter was taken to South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, where he was pronounced dead.

Golden-based councillor Michael Fitzgerald said no one in the area knew the victim or his associate, who escaped injury in the yellow end terrace house.

“It is tragic to think this type of gun attack, that we usually associate with the likes of Dublin or Limerick, is coming so close to our own homes,” said the chairman of South Tipperary County Council.

“That makes it all the more frightening to people.

“People are genuinely scared and worried about that type of activity taking place so near, in such a local, rural, quiet community.

“These things just don’t happen in a place like this.

“There is a great sense of shock among everyone at the moment, and we are feeling for the family of this man because there is a father and mother who I am sure are grieving heavily.”

The victim’s young brother, Brian, died two days after he was found unconscious in a cell at Clonmel Garda station on the morning of September 11, 2002.

The teen had been arrested by gardaí the previous night for an alleged public order offence.

A probe into his death, set up in September 2005, found that while his arrest was lawful, his detention was unlawful.

It stated while there was no evidence to suggest an assault in custody, it hit out at the force for not properly investigating all the circumstances surrounding the death.

It concluded that witnesses who alleged they saw the teenager being beaten were either deliberately untruthful, or unreliable.

While the report exonerated any garda role in the death of the young boy, it did criticise officers for failing to observe certain custody procedures.

In particular the time at which the teenager was read his rights was not accurately recorded.

Additional reporting by PA