Gardaí avoid injury after shots fired at patrol van in Dublin

Shooting occurred in Darndale where fears around organised crime have increased

A Garda Ford Transit van similar to the one that was shot at in Darndale. Photograph: The Irish Times

A Garda Ford Transit van similar to the one that was shot at in Darndale. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Two Garda members were lucky to avoid serious injury when a van they were patrolling in was hit by gunfire in a Dublin housing estate.

An examination of the marked Garda van confirmed the vehicle was hit twice on the driver’s side door by two rounds of ammunition during the incident on Thursday night.

It was unclear if more shots was fired which missed the vehicle.

Gardaí investigating the incident believe the two female gardaí in the van came upon criminal elements who were about to use the loaded gun when they were effectively disturbed by the gardaí on patrol.

The shooting occurred in the Darndale area of north Dublin where fears around organised crime have been increasing of late.

Jordan Davis (22) was shot dead in May as he wheeled his baby son in a pushchair close to his home in Darndale.

John Lawless (39) was shot dead in February as he left his home in Darndale to go to work.

In May Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy, who is in charge of policing in Dublin, said the crackdown on the Kinahan-Hutch feud and the jailing of some of the main suspects had resulted in other younger criminals seeking to take their places in the underworld.

Mr Leahy believed some of the gun crimes, including murders, in Dublin in recent months effectively formed part of that shift in the city’s organised crime scene.

This weekend Garda sources said while Darndale had often been a challenging environment, there was shock at a gun being fired at members of the force.

Sources said while Garda members being fired at was a very infrequent event, it was a risk the force had responded to by creating more dedicated armed response units in recent years.

The two gardaí in the van hit by the gunfire in the latest incident in north Dublin were uniformed and unarmed.

The two female gardaí were on patrol in a marked Garda Ford Transit van at the time, pulled up alongside a suspect car at Buttercup Park in Darndale at around 11.20pm on Thursday.

As the prepared to get out of their van to check the other vehicle and its occupants, they heard what the officers described as “a loud noise” before the car sped off over a field in the direction of Malahide Road.

While they were not certain at that point they had been fired at, they returned to Coolock Garda station in the van. The vehicle was examined and “two indentations” were noticed on the lower part of the driver door.

No one was injured and both Garda officers involved remained on duty.

A Garda spokesman said the indentations are “consistent with gunfire” and forensic examinations are ongoing to determine the type of suspected ammunition and firearm used in the attack.

“The indentations are quite small, but they are consistent with gunfire, there is no doubt about it,” he said.

The indentations are thought to have come from single rounds rather than a shotgun.

The van is undergoing a technical and forensic examination. It is not yet known how many people were in the car at the time of the suspected shooting. Details of the type of car have yet to be released.

“It would have been dark at the time. Investigators are still trying to determine all the circumstances,” the Garda spokesman said.

The car has not been found and no-one has been apprehended. Investigating gardaí are appealing for witnesses.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room at Coolock Garda station 01 6664200 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.