A notorious Dublin criminal fired a submachine randomly into the air in a built-up Dublin suburb in broad daylight on Monday evening before being pursued into a house by three unarmed gardaí and subdued.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris praised the gardaí and said they showed “great bravery” in ensuring the safety of the public in Ballymun.
The commissioner visited the scene in north Dublin and along with Acting Assistant Commissioner for Dublin, Orla McPartlin, met the three gardaí.
The unarmed officers, a sergeant and two garda members, were said to have been in a state of shock after disarming the gunman.
Garda sources said the criminal also fired shots after the gardaí entered the house he had barricaded himself into, but it is not clear if the shots were aimed at the officers or fired into the air.
No one was injured in either of the discharges, which happened before 5pm.
“We could be dealing with a different situation, otherwise,” one garda source said.
The Cranogue Road area of Poppintree in Ballymun was sealed off by gardaí after a suspect device, thought to have been a grenade, was spotted at the house.
The Army bomb squad was called in to inspect the device and carried out a controlled explosion at around 7.45pm.
The crime boss sent locals on the Cranogue Road area scarpering for safety after he fired a number of shots from, what is thought to have been, an MP6 submachine gun.
“He was out in the open and fired a number of shots into the air, but he was not targeting anyone,” said a garda source.
A major garda alert was issued and local unarmed members, attached to the drugs unit based in Ballymun Station, were first on the scene.
The Armed Support Unit was also responding.
The criminal entered a house and barricaded himself in. A sergeant and two garda members, all unarmed, made a decision to enter the house.
Sources said further shots were fired, but it was not clear were they directed at the gardaí or were they also fired into the air.
“The unarmed gardaí overpowered him and arrested him,” said a garda source.
It is not clear what preceded the shootings, but sources said the criminal was “heavily medicated” when he was brought into custody.
Gardaí sealed off the house and the road, pending the arrival of the Defence Forces EOD team.
Garda bosses will examine the entire incident, including the garda response.
Commissioner Harris said: "The Gardai involved showed great bravery in ensuring the safety of the public."
The criminal was associated with the victims of a botched gun attack at his home in Ballymun in August 2017, in which two innocent people, Antoinette Corbally-Devoy and friend Clinton Shannon, were shot dead.
A Garda statement said: “At approximately 4.45pm this afternoon Gardaí were called to a report of a male armed with a firearm in the Poppintree area of Ballymun. Garda Armed Support Units and local units were dispatched to the scene.
“A male in his 30s was arrested shortly afterwards by unarmed Gardaí and a firearm recovered at a house on Cranogue Road, Ballymun.”
The statement said the man was conveyed to Ballymun Garda Station where he was being detained under the provisions of Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
It said the area was sealed off in order to allow for an examination by the Defence Forces EOD team.
Gardai are appealing to any witnesses who may have been in or around the area at the time of the incident to contact Ballymun Garda Station on 01 6664400, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.