Pete Taylor was target of gun attack in Bray gym, say gardaí

Bystander Bobby Messett (50) shot dead during morning workout at boxing gym

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

 

Boxing trainer Pete Taylor was the target of the gunman who walked into his gym wounding three people, one fatally, gardaí believe.

Married father of three Bobby Messett was killed when he was working out in Bray Boxing Club, Co Wicklow, where the gunman opened fire early on Tuesday.

Mr Messett (50), who was shot in the head, was a sports fanatic. He was at a boot camp-style class at the gym when the shooting occurred. He was a member of Bray Wheelers Cycling Club; his last competitive race took place last week. He was also a boxer and took part in adventure racing.

One of his adult sons has been capped almost 70 times for the Irish Paralympic soccer team.

Ian Britton, a 35-year-old from Greystones in Co Wicklow, was shot twice in the legs. Like Mr Messett, he was at the gym for a morning workout and has no connection to crime.

An image of Bobby Messett. Photograph: Facebook
An image of Bobby Messett. Photograph: Facebook

Gardaí believe the gunman may have carried out the attack alone. He appears to have driven himself to and from the scene at Bray harbour.

One feature of the Kinahan-Hutch gun violence has been the murder of people not directly involved in feuding but who are linked to those involved

He later dumped the getaway van, a silver Volkswagen Caddy. There was a bike in the back of the vehicle and he cycled away on it.

The Garda are hopeful the van will yield DNA and other forensic evidence linking the killer to the crime. Mr Taylor’s evidence is likely to prove crucial in identifying anyone who may have wanted to attack him.

Personal grudge

It was initially feared the shooting, just before 7am, was the latest gun attack in the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

One feature of the Kinahan-Hutch gun violence has been the murder of people not directly involved in feuding but who are linked to those involved.

Mr Taylor (57), who was wounded in the upper body, has trained boxers signed to the MTK Global boxing promotions company.

Daniel Kinahan has previously been heavily linked to the agency. And though the company has recently changed hands there were fears early yesterday Mr Taylor had been targeted because of his links to the MTK boxers.

However, gardaí are now looking into a more localised dispute as the likely motive.

Gardaí will vigorously pursue the investigation of this shooting and, as always, do their utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice

Detectives believe Mr Taylor, whose daughter is professional boxing champion Katie Taylor, was recently drawn into a dispute with drug dealers from west Dublin who decided to shoot him over a personal grudge. There is no suggestion that Mr Taylor has been involved in any criminal wrongdoing.

Stray bullet

Supt Pat Ward of Bray Garda station said 15-20 people were in the gym when the gunman entered at about 6.55am. The gunman was wearing dark headgear, possibly a balaclava or black helmet, and may have also been wearing a high visibility jacket, he said.

The man, who used a handgun, left the scene in a silver Volkswagen Caddy with Northern Irish registration plates. It was later found on Pigeon Road, Ringsend, south inner city Dublin.

A man, who gardaí believe was the killer, was seen cycling away from the van after it had been parked just minutes after the shooting.

Injuries to Mr Taylor and Mr Britton are not believed to be life-threatening.

The murder of Mr Messett, apparently by a stray bullet during the attack on Mr Taylor, was condemned last night.

A spokesman for Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he “strongly condemned” the attack.

“Gardaí will vigorously pursue the investigation of this shooting and, as always, do their utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice”.