The Republic's latest gun-murder victim, Robert Sheridan, had long been a target for drug dealers he had once worked with and was warned last month his life was in danger.
The dead man, a 45-year-old father of two, was given an official warning by gardaí three weeks ago.
His car was destroyed in an arson attack four months ago and a second vehicle he bought to replace it was vandalised and subsequently burned out. Last month several shots were fired at his north Dublin home, though no one was injured.
Just days later officers advised him that the escalating violence was not simply intimidation but represented an immediate risk to life.
Sheridan, from Ballymun in north Dublin, was advised to take security precautions and to vary his daily routine in an effort to frustrate any attempt on his life.
Killers flee the scene
However, he was shot in the head and body in a burst of gunfire at his home late on Friday night. Gardaí believe two armed men were involved in the attack.
They called to Sheridan’s home in Poppintree Crescent at about 11.15pm. And when the victim answered, he was gunned down. The killers then fled the on foot as their victim lay dying. Despite efforts by the emergency services to stabilise Sheridan’s condition these proved unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gardaí are working on a definite line of inquiry. Detectives believe Sheridan was being targeted as part of a localised drugs feud and that a group of young dealers, who operate mainly in Ballymun, shot him dead or paid for his murder.
While Sheridan had been a long-term drug user and was known to gardaí for involvement in crime, he was not regarded as a gangland figure.
Gardaí widen net
"It's understood two armed men involved in the incident left the scene on foot and entered Poppintree Park before exiting on to Willow Park road. We are appealing to anyone who was in the area between 10pm and 12 midnight to contact us here at the incident room at Ballymun Garda station," said Supt Brian Daly.
No arrests have been made to date and inquires are ongoing. A search operation continued in Poppintree Park, the gunmen’s escape route, involving the Divisional Search Unit.
Investigating officers conducted door-to-door inquiries and the Garda Technical Bureau examined the crime scene and surrounding streets.
Garda sources said Friday’s killing in Ballymun was not linked to the Kinahan-Hutch feud or to a second significant conflict involving several criminals based in Ballymun which has so far claimed four lives.