Man killed in Bray boxing club shooting named as Bobby Messett

Katie Taylor's father Pete Taylor injured in early-morning incident in Co Wicklow

One man has died and two have been injured in a shooting in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Pete Taylor, the father of international boxing champion Katie Taylor, is understood to be one of two men injured. Video: Jack Power

 

One man has died and two have been injured in a shooting at a boxing club in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The dead man, Bobby Messett, was 50. The other two men are aged 35 and 57. The older man is Pete Taylor, the father of international boxing champion Katie Taylor. Taylor famously trained at the gym at the start of her career, while her father is a co-director of the facility. The boxing club underwent a major renovation and upgrade in 2014. ​

The injuries Mr Taylor and the other man sustained are not believed to be life threatening.

The other man is Ian Britton, from Greystones in Co Wicklow, who was shot twice in the legs.

Earlier, Supt Pat Ward of Bray Garda Station said the two men’s injuries were “very very serious at the moment”, and they were receiving treatment in hospital. 

Speaking at a media briefing, Supt Ward said between 15 and 20 people were in the gym when the gun man entered at about 6.55am. The man was wearing dark headgear to disguise himself, possibly a balaclava or black helmet, and may have also been wearing a high visibility jacket, he said. 

The fitness class was attended by regulars and gardaí said it was not possible at this stage to confirm if any of the victims had been specifically targeted, or if the shooting was indiscriminate. 

The gunman, who used a handgun, then left the scene in a silver Volkswagen Caddy, with Northern Irish registration plates. Gardaí believe the car travelled on to Bray main street, and then may have travelled in the direction of Dublin city centre, according to early reported sightings of the vehicle’s movements. 

“We don’t know if there was anybody else in that van... and that is something we are trying to find out,” Supt Ward said. 

“I’m not confirming the details of anybody who was injured at the scene just yet,” he said.

Gardaí have located a van on Pigeon Road in Ringsend, south Dublin, and are investigating if it was the getaway vehicle used in the shooting.

A Garda spokesman confirmed officers had closed off an area around the van, but had not yet confirmed if it was the vehicle used in the shooting.

In a statement, the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) said it was “horrified that something like this could happen in the setting of a community sports club.

“Our thoughts are with those affected by this appalling event, their families and friends,” the statement said.

It was initially feared the shooting was the latest gun attack in the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Mr Taylor has previously trained boxers who had links to MTK Gym, which has connections to organised crime boss Daniel Kinahan.

There is no suggestion Mr Taylor personally had links to the Kinahans or organised crime. 

And like Mr Messett, Mr Britton was at the gym for a morning workout and has no connection whatever to crime.

Shortly before 2pm Mr Messett's remains were removed from the crime scene, and a postmortem examination will take place in the next number of days. Garda forensic inspectors completed a technical examination of the scene shortly after 2pm.

It is understood the dead man was shot in the head, Taylor was shot in the arm, and the bullet deflected into his chest, while Mr Britton was hit in the leg.

The scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club, Co Wicklow this morning. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club, Co Wicklow this morning. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club, Co Wicklow this morning. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club, Co Wicklow this morning. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Boxing coach Pete Taylor with his daughter, Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA
Boxing coach Pete Taylor with his daughter, Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor. File photograph: Julien Behal/PA

A Bray resident who had taken his dog for a walk by the harbour was sitting in his car outside the boxing club when the shooting took place.  “I heard a load of shots, maybe six or seven shots,” said Anthony Connor.

Mr Connor said he did not see the shooter leave the scene, but did witness one of the three men stumble out of the boxing club, with wounds to his leg. Several minutes later paramedics and police were on scene, he said.

“It was alarming, you don’t wake up and think you’re going to have a triple shooting here in Bray,” he said.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has issued an appeal to anyone with information on this morning’s shooting in Bray to contact any Garda station.

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the incident was “shocking news” and said it was important that any evidence that was forthcoming at this early stage be shared with the gardaí.

Local Sinn Féin TD John Brady described the news of the shooting as “absolutely shocking,” and said it was a “dark day” for the area, in the post on Twitter.