Hunt for assassin as feud claims two lives

GARDAÍ are continuing to hunt for the lone assassin who gunned down two men over the weekend in a hail of bullets.

The latest gangland shooting is being linked to a long-running feud between two warring south Dublin drug gangs.

Brian Downes, aged 40, and Edward Ward, 24, were riddled with bullets when the gunman opened fire on Friday evening.

Just before 10pm, an armed man arrived by motorcycle outside a car dealership garage owned by Mr Downes at Greenhills Road, Walkinstown, Dublin.

It is thought the lone gunman drove up to the back of a house and garage and targeted garage owner Brian Downes and his employee, Edward Ward. Both victims were working on cars in the garage’s yard when they were shot.

Up to seven shots were fired into the body of Mr Downes, while Mr Ward is understood to have been shot three times. The killer used a 9mm pistol.

It is believed the garage owner’s six-year-old son watched as his father died in the hail of bullets.

Other relatives inside the house, including Mr Downes’ mother, listened with horror as the callous attack occurred.

Brian Downes was known to gardaí and, according to reports, worked with criminals laundering cash and ‘clocking’ cars. He helped with fake number plates and provided untraceable cars for gangland murders, reports said.

Edward Ward was not involved in criminal activity, his Clondalkin family insisted in weekend interviews. It is thought he was shot dead so that the killer could not be recognised.

Gardaí are considering Mr Ward was an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Brian Downes was arrested in connection with the gangland murder of John Roche in Kilmainham, south Dublin in March 2005. Roche, 24, was heavily involved in a feud between Crumlin and Drimnagh gangs that, following this weekend’s double murder, has claimed 13 lives.

Gardaí are appealing for anyone who was in the area of Greenhills Road and Greenhills roundabout between 9.30pm and 10.30pm on Friday to contact them at Crumlin Garda Station on 01 6666200.

"We appeal for anyone who may know anything — and it may have been for them trivial but for us it may help for the jigsaw together — we’d again appeal for them to come forward," appealed Crumlin Superintendent Bart Faulkner.