Gardaí are fearful a new gang- related gun feud is now under way in Dublin following the shooting dead of Jason Carroll, who had close links to major underworld figures.
Carroll (39) was shot as he tried to run to the safety of his nearby home on Cherrywood Drive, Clondalkin, west Dublin, which he shared with his partner and two children and a teenager.
His murder came just five days after Dean Johnson (21), Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, was shot dead on Harelawn Green, Clondalkin, in the early hours of last Saturday.
Gardaí believe there is a link between the two killings.
They are working on the theory that associates of Johnson, a minor criminal figure shot repeatedly in the head as he laying dying on the ground, believed Carroll was involved in last week's murder and shot him in revenge.
A major security operation is now expected to be put in place for Johnson's funeral on Monday.
Detectives are investigating if Carroll and Johnson were engaged in a personal feud because Carroll believed Johnson had beaten up one of his young relatives. However, while the killing of both men arose from that localised row, the decision by Johnson’s associates to kill Carroll on Thursday has the potential to lead to a much wider and lasting gangland feud.
Carroll was closely linked to a major drugs gang in the Ballyfermot area of west Dublin which counted as members the Corbally brothers – Paul and Kenneth – who were shot dead in July 2010.
That gang remains intact and gardaí believe it may now try to target the small faction in Clondalkin ,which appears to have been behind the murder of Carroll at 10.30pm on Thursday.
The Corballys were shot dead as they sat in their car on Neilstown Road, Clondalkin, as a local 15-year-old sat in the back seat of the vehicle.
Now aged 18, the teenager was related to Carroll and was with him on Thursday night and witnessed his murder.
Carroll was also closely associated with a major Irish drugs cartel based in southern Spain which has been the main supplier to Irish gangs for more than a decade.
Gardaí fear this gang may now try to avenge Carroll’s murder.
Despite being based in Spain, the group has killed in Dublin in recent years.
It is believed to have been behind the murder of gang leader Eamon Dunne in Cabra, Dublin, in April 2010.
On Thursday night, Carroll was shot at least three times in the upper body as he was walking from his car the few metres to the house on Cherrywood Drive that he shared with his partner, their two children and his partner’s teenage son.
He ran as he saw the gunman but could not escape.
The gunman, who appeared to be waiting for the victim to arrive at his house before striking, was driven from the scene at speed by an accomplice.
Carroll was given medical treatment at the scene before being taken to hospital in Tallaght, where he was pronounced dead.
The killer's getaway car was found on fire not long after the murder on the Newcastle Road, Lucan, Co Dublin.
Gardaí in Clondalkin have appealed for anybody who was in the area at the time to come forward.