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Rampage Shocking images show damage caused to Garda car by coked up deer hunter in Donegal

Stephen Dowling (25) was given eight years in prison for his "Wild West" style gun rampage

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The Garda car was struck by Stephen Dowling during a shooting rampage

The Garda car was struck by Stephen Dowling during a shooting rampage

The Garda car was struck by Stephen Dowling during a shooting rampage

These are the shocking images that show damage caused to a Garda car by a coked up hunter during a gun rampage in February 2020.

Stephen Dowling (25) was jailed for eight years at Letterkenny Circuit Court today.

During an hour-long escapade in the early hours of February 22nd 2020, the deer hunter fired up to nine shots in Glenties leaving terrified people to run for cover as he shot at Gardaí, civilians, buildings and cars.

Pictures of damage on a Gardaí car shows a bullet hole and shattered glass on the driver side windscreen of a Donegal police car.

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Photos below of shots to garda patrol car and high velocity weapon used by Dowling

Photos below of shots to garda patrol car and high velocity weapon used by Dowling

Photos below of shots to garda patrol car and high velocity weapon used by Dowling

Another image shows bullet damage to the front of the vehicle.

The young man’s high-powered rifle which is seized is also pictured.

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Stephen Dowling was visiting the Glenties at the time of the incident to take part in a deer cull.

After a night of drinking, Dowling returned to the bed and breakfast he was staying at where he changed into his hunting clothing and recovered his high-powered Tikka 3X rifle from his car.

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The high-powered Tikka 3X rifle used Stephen Dowling during his "Wild West" style gun rampage

The high-powered Tikka 3X rifle used Stephen Dowling during his "Wild West" style gun rampage

The high-powered Tikka 3X rifle used Stephen Dowling during his "Wild West" style gun rampage

The court heard how, despite being intoxicated earlier, Dowling stood up and marched like a soldier through the town while brandishing the high-powered rifle.

Armed detective Enda Jennings rushed to the scene to assist in disarming the assailant.

Eventually, he caught up with Dowling and was able to apprehend him.

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The court heard how Detective Jennings feared he would never see his family again.

“I knew that I was up against it and he was a man with a superior firearm. I was outgunned, the odds were stacked against me.”

“But I had to do my duty to protect the public and my unarmed colleagues.

“I was sure that I would never see my family again and I thought of the suffering and hardship they would have.”

Following his sentencing today, for the “wild west rampage” the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has called for mandatory support for members caught up in traumatic incidents in the line of duty.

AGSI General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham commended the bravery of all Gardaí involved in the incident, recounting the words of her AGSI colleague: “The town was in a state of terror and Dowling was taking deliberate aim at Gardaí. It's nothing short of a miracle that a life was not taken that night.”

“On that February night our AGSI colleague, supported by Garda members, saved lives due to their unselfish acts. They put their own lives at risk to safeguard, protect and serve their communities.”

“Our members have long advocated for a strengthening of the services available to them after such life-threatening and traumatising incidents,” she said of post-trauma supports.

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Stephen Dowling arriving at Letterkenny Circuit Court.  (North West Newspix)

Stephen Dowling arriving at Letterkenny Circuit Court. (North West Newspix)

Stephen Dowling arriving at Letterkenny Circuit Court. (North West Newspix)

“We believe support should be mandatory within the Garda organisation with standard operating procedures for how they should be delivered.”

“Furthermore, this incident shows the importance of having the Armed Support Unit available to rural communities in places like Donegal, and AGSI calls for the continued strengthening and resourcing of this Unit.”

Speaking about the terrifying incident, Brendan O’Connor, Vice President of the Garda Representative Association said that the evidence given in court surrounding the circumstances that unfolded have given the public an insight into the daily dangers that Gardaí face on an ongoing basis.

“This incident unfolded with no warning in a small rural town and there is no doubt that the courage and bravery displayed by Gardaí on the night brought the incident to an end without injury to any person,” he said.

“The Gardaí on the night were fired upon with a high-powered hunting rifle and came within inches of losing their lives. Their bravery and selfless acts on that night put the safety of the public ahead of their own, and for that we will forever be grateful.”

“The people of Donegal and the country are very fortunate to have officers of this calibre protecting them on a daily basis and our colleagues within the organisation take comfort in knowing that they can depend on people like this at their time of greatest need.”

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