Drug gang link to shooting of Michael Kelly in Kilmainham

27-year-old man shot dead in south inner city had drug-related convictions

A police forensic team remove the body of a man fatally wounded in Kilmainham in the southwest inner city at 10.30am on Monday beside the Red Luas line. Photograph: Dave Meehan

A police forensic team remove the body of a man fatally wounded in Kilmainham in the southwest inner city at 10.30am on Monday beside the Red Luas line. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 


Gardaí investigating the Republic’s latest gangland murder are hopeful a gun and other clues left by the killer as they fled will prove helpful in solving the crime.

Michael Kelly, a 27-year-old Dubliner, was gunned down in Kilmainham in the southwest inner city at 10.30am yesterday beside the Red Luas line.

The dead man, originally from nearby St Teresa’s Gardens but with a recent address at the Maltings, also in Dublin 8, was known to gardaí. He had drug-related convictions.

Gardaí believe the murder was drug-related. They are investigating reports that the man dealt drugs at street level, often at the spot where he was shot yesterday, a stretch along Grand Canal View known as the “dry canal” and near the canal, Davitt Road and Suir Road.

The dead man was an associate of some of the criminals involved in a gangland feud for more than a decade between drug gangs in Crumlin and Drimnagh, though it is not clear whether the killing is feud-related.

“He definitely wasn’t a guy who would be known as a major player, he was small-time,” said a Garda source.

A gunman approached Kelly as he was on foot and fired one shot from a handgun fitted with a silencer. The victim was wounded in the chest and collapsed at the scene as the gunman fled on foot still holding the weapon.

The emergency services were summoned immediately and, while paramedics arrived quickly, their efforts to save Kelly were not successful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.


Burning car
A short time later a Volkswagen Beetle was found on fire in the Rialto area, close to the crime scene. Garda sources said the car had been used by the killer and had carried him from the scene of the shooting after he had fled the immediate vicinity on foot. The gun and silencer had been left in the car and the vehicle had been set on fire in an apparent bid to destroy any forensic evidence in the car or on the weapon.

However, the vehicle was not engulfed by fire and gardaí are hopeful some of the evidence the killers were trying to destroy can be isolated. Members of the Garda Technical Bureau examined the car yesterday.

The scene of the shooting, which was sealed off immediately gardaí arrived, was also examined by the bureau yesterday.


Dead at scene
Because Kelly was pronounced dead at the scene rather than taken to hospital, his remains were left at the spot where he died pending the arrival of Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, who carried out a preliminary examination of the body there. The remains were then removed to the city morgue in Marino, where a postmortem was being carried out last night.

The results of that examination had not been officially released last night, though Garda sources said Kelly died of a gunshot wound to the upper body. The car gardaí believe was used by the killer, and most likely an accomplice who drove him to and from the murder, had not been reported stolen by last evening. Gardaí in Kilmainham are investigating.