NewsCrime Desk

Gardai arrest prison inmate over botched Dublin hit

Gardai at the scene of the shooting in August last year
Gardai at the scene of the shooting in August last year

GARDAI have arrested a 30-year-old criminal in jail over an attempted murder in which a 41-year-old man was shot by mistake.

Innocent victim John O’Connor had a miracle escape after he was injured in the shotgun attack at the Cullen Car Spares premises on Greenhills Road, Walkinstown, at 11.35am on August 4, 2016.

The shooting was part of a bitter feud in the Tallaght area, which involved associates of a notorious criminal nicknamed the ‘Little General’.

However, Mr O’Connor, from Clondalkin, who was badly assaulted in a separate incident last month, had no involvement in that dispute.

The gunman’s target was actually in the Walkinstown premises when the shooting happened. Mr O’Connor was hit with shotgun pellets in the chest when he turned around to face the would-be killer.

The suspect was held for 24 hours last week at Crumlin Garda Station after being arrested in Wheatfield Prison, where he is serving a sentence for minor offences.

His intended target is from the Tallaght area and is known to officers as a “high-end burglary suspect”.

This criminal escaped uninjured but the Tallaght feud that led to the shooting is understood to be still ongoing.

Sources have revealed that the 30-year-old arrested for the botched hit has been linked to the shooting by officers probing the cars used on the day, as well as phones linked to various suspects and clothes seized near the crime scene.

The gun suspect has served a number of jail sentences for burglary, theft and motoring offences, and in 2013 was involved in a high-speed chase on the capital’s M50 motorway.

He was brought back to prison after being released without charge by Crumlin gardai. A file on him will now be prepared for the DPP.

His arrest was the second in the case, after the suspected getaway driver was picked up by gardai last September and also released without charge.

The Tallaght criminals used a car in the shooting that had been bought in rural Ireland rather than stolen.