Murder-attempt rapist on the run after shotgun jams in kill ploy
Armed gardai are hunting for a convicted rapist who is the chief suspect in a recent assassination attempt.
Members of the Regional Support Unit (RSU) have been conducting a number of raids in the Bray area following the incident, which occurred in the same Wicklow town last Friday morning.
The victim, aged in his early 30s, was targeted as he made his way to work.
A gunman, who was wearing a balaclava, approached him outside his home and attempted to fire a number of shots. However the weapon is believed to have jammed.
The intended target then confronted the would-be hitman and a struggle ensued before the perpetrator fled the scene.
It is believed a shotgun was produced during the assassination attempt.
The incident occurred at 7.30am on Friday in the Oldcourt estate, in Bray.
Several armed units from the RSU immediately flooded the area and proceeded to carry out a number of raids.
The raids continued over the weekend and the above picture shows local officers, supported by armed units conducting a number of searches, in the area on Tuesday afternoon.
A number of properties have been searched in the north Wicklow area as part of the investigation.
No arrests have yet been made in relation to the incident and officers from Bray garda station are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
The chief suspect in the attempted hit is a convicted rapist who is also suspected of carrying out a number of shootings in the Co Wicklow area.
The man, aged in his 20s, is also the suspected hitman in the murder attempt of Jonathan Burke in the Heatherwood estate, Bray in November 2014.
Burke (41) survived the shooting but was subsequently left paralysed as a result of his injuries.
Last Friday's intended target is an individual who has no involvement in organised crime. It is believed that he was targeted over a personal dispute involving a senior member of a gang led by convicted killer Richie O'Carroll.
A source said that the dispute has been ongoing for a number of years, which highlights the "unforgivable" nature of criminals.
"It is over something that happened a long time ago, the victim of the attempted shooting isn't a player by any stretch of the imagination and probably assumed that the threat level had decreased due to the amount of time that has passed.
"These lads never forget though, and the incident could have ended in tragedy had the gunman's firearm not jammed," the source said.