Wounded officers forced to take cover behind Garda car

Dublin-based detectives in their 30s exchanged fire with occupant of Clonsilla house

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau determine the trajectory of bullets fired at the unmarked Garda car in Whitechapel Grove, Clonsilla. Photograph: Collins

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau determine the trajectory of bullets fired at the unmarked Garda car in Whitechapel Grove, Clonsilla. Photograph: Collins

 

Two detective gardaí who were wounded outside the west Dublin home of a convicted drug dealer were forced to take cover behind their patrol car for up to 15 minutes after the man continued to fire from inside the house.

The two Dublin-based detectives in their 30s exchanged fire with the man at the house in Whitechapel Grove, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, just after 7pm on Tuesday.

They had gone to the house after reports of shots being fired, possibly during a row between a man and a woman. But as they approached on foot the suspect opened fire from an upstairs bedroom with a machine pistol.

After being shot and wounded, and while taking cover behind their own car, the two detectives called for support and a large number of gardaí arrived.

Armed colleagues, moving behind shields, got close to the house and quickly extracted their injured colleagues. One had been shot in the foot and hand, while the other had been wounded in the foot.

They are recovering in Connolly hospital after surgery. One had a bullet taken from his foot; both have shattered bones and significant soft tissue damage. One required reconstructive surgery on his hand.

Following their rescue, gardaí threw up a cordon around Whitechapel Grove, while negotiators spent two hours persuading the man to give himself up without further violence.

The man is aged in his late 30s and has a lengthy criminal career stretching back to his teenage years. He finally agreed to leave his house and was arrested just after 9.30pm. He is still being held at Blanchardstown Garda station.

The two detectives had responded immediately to the call because the suspect had recently been informed by gardaí that his life is in danger from drug-dealing rivals.

Actions commended

Commending the bravery of all officers involved, especially the wounded men, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said they had secured a successful outcome, with no loss of life and an arrest.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin offered tributesalso, saying the incident “illustrates once again the extraordinary commitment and contribution of An Garda Síochána to public wellbeing and public interest”.

Garda Representative Association president Frank Thornton said it “brings into focus the very real and ever-present danger that every garda is exposed to when performing their duty”.

The suspect is being questioned under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. Two firearms were seized and are now being examined by forensic experts.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission has begun preliminary inquiries into the incident, as they are required to do when gardaí fire weapons.