Hundreds attend vigil for 'absolute gentleman' Detective Garda Colm Horkan

Hundreds attend vigil for 'absolute gentleman' Detective Garda Colm Horkan
Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, at the scene of the fatal shooting of Det. Garda Colm Horkan this evening in Castlerae, Co. Roscommon. Pic: Collins

Hundreds of people in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, have attended a vigil to remember Detective Garda Colm Horkan.

His colleagues and members of the local community gathered in the pouring rain to remember the 49-year-old, who was shot dead while on duty last night.

His gun was taken from him during a physical altercation with a man on the main street of the town.

A man in his 40s is being held for questioning.

There are indications that all 15 rounds were discharged from the handgun, but it is thought four hit the garda and that two other bullets grazed him.

Friends and colleagues of Det. Garda Colm Horkan arriving at a prayer service for him in The Hub, Castlerea this evening. Pic: Colin Keegan, Collins
Friends and colleagues of Det. Garda Colm Horkan arriving at a prayer service for him in The Hub, Castlerea this evening. Pic: Colin Keegan, Collins

Despite poor weather, hundreds of locals took part in a vigil for Det. Gda Horkan this evening.

One man, who attended the vigil to show support for the local Garda community, explained: "Colm was very much part of the team in Castlerea for quite a number of years, and apparently he was not just an outstanding policeman but an [outstanding] human being at his heart.

"He'll be sorely missed and sorrowfully missed by all of us - we need more of his ilk in our community, not less."

Publican Ollie Hester said he and others in Castlerea are in a “deep state of shock and sadness”.

Mr Hester, who owns the Golden Eagle Bar in Castlerea, said customers have contacted him to express their shock and anguish.

“He was such a lovely man and so well respected in the community here.

He was an absolute gentleman. No-one in the town can get over what has happened to him.

“He was stationed in Castlerea and was only made a detective recently, so he had the world at his feet.

“Just a few weeks ago he had gone to help my elderly mother, and he called up to her house because she was having trouble with her house alarm.

“I told her the news this morning and she was absolutely heartbroken and devastated.

A woman brings flowers to the scene of the fatal shooting of Det. Garda Colm Horkan. Pic: Collins
A woman brings flowers to the scene of the fatal shooting of Det. Garda Colm Horkan. Pic: Collins

“She is just distraught as we were only speaking about how nice he was the other day.”

A memorial event was also held in Castlerea this afternoon for Det. Gda Horkan's Garda colleagues.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan expressed his shock and sadness on the death of the detective.

He said: "I want to express my heartfelt sympathy to the parents and family of the brave garda who died doing his duty serving his community and to the wider family of An Garda Síochána who will be heartbroken.

"Our gardaí work to keep Ireland safe at all times and this is a very difficult day for all of them and their families."

The experienced garda was on a single-person patrol in Castlerea when he confronted a motorist following calls to the station that a stolen motorbike was being driven erratically in the area.

Local sources said Det. Gda Horkan assisted uniform gardaí who were called to deal with the complaints.

He spotted the driver of the motorbike near the junction of Main Street and Patrick Street and a physical altercation developed.

Commissioner Drew Harris said: “There were various calls ongoing, but Detective Garda Colm Horkan was engaged on anti-crime patrol around ongoing work in respect of burglary patrols, anti-crime patrols, drug patrols.' Pic: Collins
Commissioner Drew Harris said: “There were various calls ongoing, but Detective Garda Colm Horkan was engaged on anti-crime patrol around ongoing work in respect of burglary patrols, anti-crime patrols, drug patrols." Pic: Collins

Commissioner Harris said an initial conversation deteriorated into an altercation and the detective’s “service pistol was used against him” and he was severely wounded.

Paramedics from a nearby ambulance gave prompt medical assistance but he died at the scene.

The suspect was arrested nearby by uniformed gardaí and he was detained under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, allowing for up to 72 hours’ detention.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission have been alerted to the matter as it involved an official garda firearm.

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