bungling criminals | 

Manhunt underway as hitmen in botched shooting TWICE set themselves on fire

Man (58) shot in neck in Tallaght, Dublin, attack was not intended target

The original burnt out car after the shooting

CCTV shows getaway car being burned out - one masked man caught up in the blaze

CCTV shows getaway car being burned out - one masked man caught up in the blaze

Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

TWO bungling criminals twice set themselves alight while burning getaway vehicles after they shot a 58-year-old man in the neck.

A manhunt was in place last night for two suspects in the botched murder attempt, a shocking incident in which the victim was not the intended target.

"We have rarely if ever seen such a chain of complete incompetence linked to a planned assassination," a source said.

"It would be laughable if it was not so serious - these fellas must have been off their heads."

Ruthless

Gardaí believe the intended target of the attempted murder at the Cookstown Cottages in Tallaght at 12.10pm yesterday was a man in his 30s who is known to the victim and has a €30,000 debt to a ruthless drugs gang based in the Crumlin area.

It can be revealed that a property linked to the intended target was attacked by a group of thugs in the past two months, with damage being caused to the house.

Sources say the Tallaght man shot yesterday, who has an address in the west Dublin suburb, was shot by the reckless gunmen by mistake.

"This is a hard-working man who has worked as a mechanic and builder all his life, and gardaí are more than satisfied that he was not the intended target," a senior source said.

His condition in Tallaght University Hospital was last night described as "stable" as officers appealed for information about three crime scenes linked to the attempted murder.

The incident occurred shortly after midday yesterday when gardaí were alerted after the 58-year-old man was shot in the neck in the Cookstown Cottages area and taken to hospital.

It is understood the gunmen believed the intended target would be at the scene as he is known to visit it.

Shortly after the initial shooting in Tallaght, Dublin Fire Brigade was called to nearby location - Kilcarrig Close - where a small, dark van had been set alight.

A weapon, believed to be a shotgun, was also found in the vehicle, which is suspected of being used to flee from the scene in Cookstown.

Gardaí then received reports of two masked men fleeing the scene, and also that a man who set fire to the van also accidentally set himself alight.

These suspects are then believed to have driven together in a black hatchback from Tallaght to Rathcoole, also in west Dublin, where it arrived at the Rathmill Glen estate at around 12.30pm.

In footage widely shared on social media, the passenger in the car makes his escape to another vehicle.

Meanwhile, in his disoriented state, the driver of the dark car sets fire to the getaway vehicle and is engulfed in the explosion that ensues.

The suspect is then seen to run to a dark car, which he mistakenly thinks is another getaway car, before hopping into the correct vehicle - the third known car used in the commission of the crime.

Both men flee in a small, silver hatchback car, which gardaí believe may have been parked in the estate up to 24 hours before the attempted hit.

There have been no arrests, and gardaí continue to appeal for information.


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