Customers in a pub fled for safety as a gunman opened fire on a convicted criminal, gardaí said.
Paul Cullen was gunned down in front of his brother and wheelchair-bound father in the Cabra House pub, close to his home in Dublin’s northside.
Superintendent David Taylor described the capital’s latest gangland-style attack as a callous and brutal murder of a young man in a public place.
“There was a number of people in the pub at the time and, as you can imagine, when we got there it was a pretty chaotic scene and people were obviously fleeing for their own safety,” Mr Taylor continued.
“So we are asking anyone who may have been in the pub at the time, or in the hours beforehand, to come forward.”
The senior garda revealed members of the Cullen family were among about 20 customers in the bar on Fassaugh Avenue, off the Navan Road, and were traumatised by the shooting shortly after 7pm last night.
A masked man fired up to six shots at the 27-year-old – who was a former associate of murdered gangland boss Eamon Dunne – while a second masked man waited outside on a dark motorbike.
“We have a family liaison officer appointed and dealing with the family,” he said. “It was pretty traumatic to witness such a callous and brutal murder.”
Deputy State Pathologist Khalid Jabbar is carrying out a post mortem on the remains while forensic officers continue to examine the scene, where flowers have been laid. The card reads “you’ll never walk alone”.
Detectives are trawling through CCTV from in and around the bar to piece together the movements of the motorbike used as the getaway vehicle.
They appealed to motorists and pedestrians who saw a medium sized bike being driven erratically from the bar, which is also known as the Oasis, to try to establish what route it took through evening traffic. Anyone who has since seen a motorbike being dumped is also urged to contact gardai in Cabra.
Meanwhile investigators are trying to establish a definite motive for the gun attack on Cullen, who was released from prison last summer.
The victim was known to gardaí and was previously connected with a gang run by Dunne, known as The Don, who was shot dead in the nearby Fassaugh House Pub in April 2010.
In February 2008 Cullen was sentenced to six years for storing almost €56,000 of cannabis resin in his home to clear drug debts. He was in fear of his life after receiving a bullet in the post.
While awaiting sentence, Cullen and a relative were arrested for assaulting a female garda, whom he kicked in the stomach. He was later jailed for three years, with the final 18 months suspended, to run consecutive to the six-year sentence.
“It’s early in the day…We’ve just a number of lines of inquiry being conducted,” added Supt Taylor.
“At the moment we’re in a trawling process, and when we have that ended we will assess it and see where it takes us.”