Gardaí upgrade Dublin shooting death to murder

Two arrested after no firearm found at property where there was evidence of drugtaking

Gardaí at the scene of a fatal shooting incident on the North Circular Road, Dublin. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Gardaí at the scene of a fatal shooting incident on the North Circular Road, Dublin. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

Gardai have upgraded to a murder inquiry their investigation into the death of a man from a gunshot wound to the head.

Partially disabled Gary O’Brien (50s), a father of one from Finglas, Dublin, was found dead in a house on the North Circular Road in the north inner city on Sunday evening.

It was initially suspected the gunshot wound was self-inflicted and when no firearm was found gardai were trying to determine if people in the room where he died had moved it.

However, gardai now believe he was murdered and the firearm disposed of in a bid to conceal evidence and frustrate the investigation.

Supt Anne Markey said gardai were keen to hear from any witnesses who may be able to aid the inquiry.

The firearm used in the killing remains unaccounted for and she urged people from the area who may have seen any suspicious activity or may find any weapons, implements or mobile phones in their gardens to contact them.

“If they’ve seen anything suspicious from about 8pm last Sunday to 6am on Monday between the entrance of O’Devaney Gardens down to Aughrim Street on the North Circular Road, Dublin 7, we would ask them to contact us,” she said.

“There’s a lot of traffic that passes through here, including taxis and buses, and we’d ask anyone who may have seen anything they feel is unusual to come forward,” she added, speaking to the media outside the house where the murder was discovered.

The motive for the dead man’s killing remains unclear. While originally from Finglas, Mr O’Brien had lived on the North Circular Road for seven years.

He had one adult child and several grandchildren. He had been in poor health and had limited mobility to the extent he often used a wheelchair.

The house where the victim was found dead, a large rented property converted into a number of units, remains sealed off and was still undergoing forensic examination and searching today.

Mr O’Brien had been living in a basement flat and some witnesses have told gardai they saw a woman coming from the basement in a distressed state, and possibly wearing bloodied clothes, on Sunday evening.

Two people who were arrested in connection with the case are being questioned on suspicion of murder with a firearm.

They were detained on Monday night into yesterday morning and are being questioned at separate Dublin garda stations under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Garda sources said the investigation had been upgraded from a suspicious death inquiry to a murder case because of forensic evidence and arising from interviews by members of the Bridewell detective unit with people who knew the dead man.

The property where he was shot in the forehead is in a state of disrepair and gardai found evidence of drug taking and other substance abuse there.

Another two houses, also on the North Circular Road within 1km of the Phoenix Park gates, had been sealed off and searched as part of the inquiry.

Gardai believe these houses were being used as squats and by drug users. They also believe a number of people had been moving between the two derelict properties and the house where Mr O’Brien lived in the hours leading up to his murder.

The murder scene and two other properties are located within the stretch of the North Circular Road from Aughrim St to O’Devaney Gardens that the Garda witness appeal relates to.