Gun victim endured anti-social campaign

 

A MAN shot dead while chasing teenagers away from his home on Sunday night had been the victim of a sustained campaign of anti-social behaviour from local children in recent weeks.

Gardaí believe Aidan O'Kane (50), Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, was targeted and ultimately shot dead by teenagers he had befriended.

The Irish Timesunderstands that Mr O'Kane had allowed local children into his house and garage, where he fixed cars, motorbikes and bicycles. However, some residents in the area complained to gardaí that children were drinking in the house. Mr O'Kane made it clear to the children they were no longer welcome.

Mr O'Kane's wheelie bins were then set on fire. Missiles were repeatedly thrown at his house. While he erected a CCTV system at the front of his property, he did not report any of the incidents to gardaí until last weekend.

When an attempt was made to set his car on fire on Saturday night, he contacted gardaí for the first time.

On Sunday he was at his home with his 25-year-old son and a friend when his house was targeted again just after 7pm.

Eggs were thrown by members of a group of 10 to 15 local teenagers. Mr O'Kane ran from the house after at least three of the children.

Armed with a baton, he chased them up a laneway that leads to nearby Bargy Road. When he reached the end of the laneway he was shot in the stomach by a youth armed with a handgun.

He was rushed to the Mater hospital, but was pronounced dead just after 7.30pm.

Gardaí believe other teenagers were waiting in the lane when Mr O'Kane ran through it. Detectives have not ruled out the possibility that the victim was deliberately lured up the lane for the purpose of being shot.

A widower, Mr O'Kane was originally from Clontarf and had moved to East Wall less than a year ago.

Assistant Commissioner Al McHugh, who is in charge of policing in Dublin, appealed for any children in the area at the time or their parents to contact gardaí. He urged parents to watch for tell-tale signs.

"If they saw what happened, children may have been in a distressed state and children may have been upset," he said.

Mr McHugh said gardaí had a good relationship with the community in East Wall through local policing boards and community policing.

He said that while East Wall had some problems with anti-social behaviour, it was no worse than other areas.

"We have had good responses from the community in the East Wall Road area and we now wish to build on that support," he said.

Just after 1am yesterday the first of five local teenagers, a 13-year-old boy, was arrested for questioning. Four more teenagers were arrested yesterday, including three males aged 15, 16 and 18, and a 19-year-old woman. More arrests are anticipated.

The males were all being held at Store Street Garda station, and the woman at Mountjoy Garda station. All bar one were being questioned under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act on suspicion of withholding information.

The 15-year-old boy is being questioned on suspicion of handling the murder weapon. Gardaí believe he fired the fatal shot. He is known to gardaí for public order offences and stealing cars, but was not known to be involved in gun crime.

Gardaí are unclear whether the boy was carrying the gun around on Sunday evening, or whether it was hidden in the laneway or handed to him there by somebody else for the purpose of shooting the victim.

Anybody who was in the vicinity of the murder scene between 6pm and 8pm on Sunday is asked to contact Store Street Garda station on (01) 666 8089.