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Boy doesn't know how close he came to death in botched gangland hit

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
Boy doesn't know how close he came to death in botched gangland hit

THE horrified mother of a five-year-old boy whose car seat was struck by a bullet in a botched gangland hit told the Sunday World yesterday her little boy didn’t know how close he had come to death.

Speaking at her Finglas home, the brave woman, who we are not naming for safety reasons, told us: “He’s okay, he’s okay… he was oblivious to the whole thing.

“We’re fine, but I just don’t want to say anything about what happened.”

Gardaí are investigating if the intended target was a well-known criminal with links to the Rattigan gang in South Dublin.

He is a close associate of John (24) and Noel Roche (27), who were both murdered as part of the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud. 

Noel Roche

The criminal, who is in his 20s, has served a prison sentence for an attack on a ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson gang member.

The Sunday World can reveal the shocked woman was sitting in her car in the McDonald’s/KFC car park at the entrance to the Charlestown Shopping Centre in Finglas at 6.15pm on Friday when a gunmen opened fire.

Gardaí fear the attack may spark the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, which has claimed a total of 14 lives.

It is believed the gunman arrived at the scene in a silver Volkswagen Golf, registration number 02 MH 7775.

A source told the Sunday World: “Witnesses described seeing two occupants in the car. One was wearing a balaclava and he got out of the vehicle and opened fire.

“Their intended target was seen running through the car park and a total of five shots were discharged in his direction.

“The shooting was indiscriminate and one of the bullets entered the rear door of the car a woman was sitting in with her five-year-old son.

“The bullet lodged in the car seat… this could have had a far worse outcome.”

The gunman’s vehicle was found burnt out a short time later in the Shancastle estate in Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

Yesterday, five yellow markers indicated the spots where casings were discharged from the gunman’s weapon as he chased through the car park.

John Roche

It’s understood Gardaí believe the target may have been lured to the car park for a ‘meet-up’, but fled on foot when he saw his balaclava-clad assailant.

A staff member at one of the two fast-food outlets outside which Friday’s shooting took place, told the Sunday World: “I was driving out of the car park when the shooting started.

“It was pandemonium. The car park was full of young families stopping for food after going to the cinema or coming from the fairground across the road. Parents and children were running everywhere.”

Speaking in the wake of the shooting, local TD Noel Rock said: “A Friday night at a shopping centre shows there is a clear seeping of gangland crime into the everyday lives of families. 

“The fact that these shots narrowly missed a young child shows the real danger posed by these thugs.” 

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information, particularly those who may have observed the silver Volkswagen Golf prior to its arrival at Charlestown or its discovery later at Shancastle Estate, Clondalkin, to contact them at Finglas Garda Station 0n 01 6667500, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111 or any Garda Station.