Shooting victim was with wife at time killer struck

Darren Kearns had just left restaurant when suspected gangland-related attack mounted

Darren Kearns (34), had just left the Phoenix Chinese restaurant above Cumiskey’s pub (above) on Blackhorse Avenue,   when he was shot dead on Wednesday evening. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Darren Kearns (34), had just left the Phoenix Chinese restaurant above Cumiskey’s pub (above) on Blackhorse Avenue, when he was shot dead on Wednesday evening. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

A convicted drug dealer shot dead in the car park of a Dublin pub on Wednesday was in a car with his wife at the time of the shooting, gardaí have confirmed.

Darren Kearns (34), had just left the Phoenix Chinese restaurant above Cumiskey’s pub on Blackhorse Avenue, close to the Cabra Gate of the Phoenix Park, at about 5.40pm when the attack, believed to be gangland-related, was perpetrated.

Moments after Kearns got into his car with his wife, a lone gunman approached and fired several shots “indiscriminately” into the car, Insp Tony Toomey told reporters at Cabra Garda station.

Insp Toomey said it was fortunate others were not killed in what was a “horrendous crime”.

“We know there was a lone gunman who fired indiscriminately into the car and we’re fortunate that his wife was uninjured.”

Other people in car park

Several other people had been in the car park at what was a busy time of day for the pub, he said. “It’s very lucky that there wasn’t at least another fatality.”

The gunman escaped in a light-coloured 5 series BMW, registration 04D 35151.

The car was later found burned-out on nearby Regal Park. Gardaí said they have received reports of more than one person leaving the scene in Regal Park in another car after the burning of the BMW.

It is understood Kearns had entered the restaurant at about 4.30pm, and gardaí are appealing for witnesses who may have been in the vicinity of the pub from 4pm-6pm and may have noticed anything suspicious to come forward.

“The area where the incident occurred was just off Blackhorse Avenue, adjacent to the Phoenix Park, where there would be a lot of pedestrians, runners, cyclists and motorists passing,” Insp Toomey said.

“We’re also appealing for anybody who may have been in the roadway of the Phoenix Park adjacent to Blackhorse Avenue at the time of the incident.”

Anything unusual

Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information on the movements of the BMW and anyone who may have seen anything unusual in the vicinity of Regal Park to come forward.

“That car was found abandoned and burnt-out in a laneway of Regal Park, which is off Blackhorse Avenue, a short distance away from where the incident occurred.

“We believe that there may have been people seen fleeing Regal Park in a motor car following the burning out of that vehicle, or they may have been in the area of Regal Park for a period of time before the incident occurred or after the incident occurred.

“So we’re looking for people who might have been in that area and might have seen anything suspicious in that area to come forward and give us information.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Cabra Garda station on on 01-6667400, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.

Jail release

Kearns had recently been released from prison after he was sentenced to six years for the sale or supply of €1.8 million worth of cannabis in February 2012.

He was jailed after gardaí stopped him and his brother in a van at Ballyboughal in Dublin and seized 145kg of cannabis.

He was convicted of a separate charge in relation to the sale or supply of drugs in 2011 but did not serve jail time.

Apart from some road traffic offences, he had not otherwise come to the attention of gardaí.