Man held in investigation of shooting of boy (6) in Dublin
Gunmen urged to surrender due to risk they will be attacked
Gardaí in Croftwood Gardens, Cherry Orchard, Dublin, where a six-year-old was shot on Friday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.
Gardaí investigating the wounding of a six-year-old child in a botched gun attack have arrested a man in his mid-30s. They believe the two attackers intended to murder somebody else. The man in detention was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
The child suffered wounds to his neck and shoulder in the attack at the Croftwood housing estate in Ballyfermot, west Dublin.
Gardaí believe the armed men, one on foot and the other on a bicycle, opened fire at a house and that the child was wounded as he stood outside his nearby home on Croftwood Gardens.
The boy had returned home from an outing with his family just before 10.30pm on Friday and was standing at the end of the driveway, about to go inside when the shots were fired.
Local people rushed to his aid and used items of clothing to stem the blood. A number of blood-stained garments were visible as the scene was examined on Saturday morning by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.
Paramedics arrived shortly after the shooting and the boy was given emergency treatment at the scene before being taken to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
He underwent treatment there over the weekend, and his condition is considered to be non-life-threatening.
Gardaí believe they know who carried out the shooting and at least one of the men was in shock when he realised a child had been wounded.
“The guy on the bike appears to have scarpered pretty quickly, but a few local people have told us the associate initially seemed too stunned to run off,” said one source.
Garda Headquarters at Phoenix Park, Dublin, has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement urging the people involved to surrender themselves to Ballyfermot gardaí.
“There is a fair amount of revulsion over this and sometimes when a crime like that happens the people involved are at risk of being attacked by other criminals,” said a Garda source.
“So, genuinely, the best thing and safest thing to do is to come forward and speak to us. It can also be the kind of gesture that would be favourably looked at by a judge when a prosecution happens.”
The Garda has also conducted extensive house-to-house inquiries and appointed a liaison officer to deal with the victim’s shocked family.
Shortlist of suspects
Gardaí have spoken to people in the area familiar with the reasons the gunmen wanted to attack the intended target. Detectives used that information to draw up a shortlist of suspects and now believe they know who the attackers are.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald led the condemnation of the shooting from political circles, describing the attack as “appalling”.
It was a “stark reminder of the dangers of gun culture” faced by those Garda members charged with facing down criminals “who show such a callous disregard for human life”, she said.
“Acting Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan has assured me that the Gardaí are making significant progress with their inquiries and that they are determined to bring to justice those involved in perpetrating this dreadful incident.”