Dublin killing: Father-of-three gunned down outside house on way to work

Gardaí name Darndale victim as John Lawless and issue fresh appeal for witnesses

John Lawless was shot dead in Darndale on Friday morning. Photograph: Garda Press Office

John Lawless was shot dead in Darndale on Friday morning. Photograph: Garda Press Office

 

The man who was shot dead on Friday morning in Dublin was a father-of-three whose partner is due to give birth to their fourth child soon.

John Lawless (39) was shot at 6.30am at Marigold Road, Darndale. He was treated at the scene before being brought to hospital, where he subsequently died.

A postmortem examination was due to be carried out on Friday by Dr Michael Curtis at the City Morgue.

Gardaí from nearby Coolock station have begun a murder inquiry and the scene of the shooting has been sealed off.

Gardaí said a motive for the shooting has not been established, but there “is nothing to suggest that it has any connection with gangland crime or any major feud. The victim is not known to gardaí for involvement in serious criminal activity.”

Gardaí are trying to establish if Mr Lawless had recently clashed with a group of young men from the area, some of whom are teenagers. They had been engaging in anti-social behavour including joyriding, which has been a source of tension in Darndale in recent years.

A vehicle – a silver Ford Focus with a 132-D registration – was found burnt out on Greenwood Avenue area of Donaghmede about 1km from the scene. It is believed to have been used by the gunman and at least one associate.

The location where the car was found was also sealed off. The Our Lady Immaculate national school and church are immediately adjacent to the spot where the victim was shot.

Gardaí at the scene Friday morning at Marigold Crescent, Darndale, where a man was shot at about 6.30am and later died in hospital. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins
Gardaí at the scene Friday morning at Marigold Crescent, Darndale, where a man was shot at about 6.30am and later died in hospital. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins

Mr Lawless had just left his home on Marigold Crescent to go to work, when he was shot on the pavement at Marigold Road about 150m from his front gate.

Construction gear

He was dressed in construction gear at the time which was visible at the scene on Friday, having been cut off him by paramedics.

He appears to have been specifically targeted by a gunman who was waiting for him.

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau could be seen examining the bloodstained scene and gathering what appeared to be a number of bullet casings.

Gardaí appealed for any witnesses to the shooting, or anyone who may have seen the Ford Focus driving from the Darndale area across the Malahide Road towards Blunden Drive and Greenwood Avenue to come forward.

Gardaí have also appealed for information from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the vicinity of the Resource Centre in Darndale, Marigold Crescent or Greenwood Avenue, and also asked motorists with dashcams who may have been in the areas mentioned to check their footage.

Those with information are asked to contact Coolock Garda station (01- 6664200); the Garda confidential line (1-800- 666-111) or any Garda station.

The scene is in a residential area across a green space from the Darndale Belcamp Village Centre, a local community facility.

One local man at the scene said people in the area were shocked by what had happened.

“It’s really terrible that it’s come to this, we had another fella shot dead in the area a while ago,” he said in reference to the killing of Kenneth Finn 12 months ago in the adjacent Moatview estate. “But the area has calmed down a lot compared to what it was years ago. It’s a shock to see this as you are going to work.

“There are parents with their kids getting brought to school; passing this and seeing things like this going on in their own area.”

Friday’s murder was the second fatal shooting of the year.

Last month 23-year-old Zach Parker was shot dead as he left a gym in Swords, north Co Dublin, where he lived.

A convicted drug dealer, gardaí believe his murder was linked to the drugs trade. Another man he was with at the time was wounded, though gardaí do not believe he was the gunman’s target.

The Coolock area was badly affected by gangland feuding about 10 years ago with a series of murders taking place there.

A number of criminals from the area were in dispute with the gang that had been led by Eamonn Dunne in Finglas, north Dublin.

Gardaí at the scene Friday morning at Marigold Crescent, Darndale, where a man was shot at about 6.30am and later died in hospital. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins
Gardaí at the scene Friday morning at Marigold Crescent, Darndale, where a man was shot at about 6.30am and later died in hospital. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins

Several men from Coolock, three of them brothers, were killed in that dispute before Dunne himself was shot dead by the Kinahan gang because the series of murders he presided over was destabilising Dublin the drugs market the Kinahan cartel was supplying into.

Following that feud between Dunne and a family-based Coolock gang there were a number of localised gang feuds within Coolock. However, that violence had quelled in recent years before Friday’s gun murder.