Gardaí fear a vicious gang will continue to kill the remaining members of a rival outfit after a second person was shot dead outside a west Dublin shopping centre.
The murder of John Gibson, a 28-year-old father of two, at Citywest Shopping Centre on Monday night follows the shooting dead of gang associate Darragh Nugent in north Clondalkin a week ago.
Community workers in the Ronanstown area of Clondalkin, where both outfits are based, fear for the safety of locals and called on the State to “break” the power of gangs in the area.
Four people have died in the feud in the last four years and detectives are particularly concerned for the safety of the small number of remaining members of Nugent’s gang.
Nugent, a 36-year-old father of three, was murdered outside his home on Wheatfield Avenue after the rival gang learned he was trying to recruit members to take them on.
A senior associate of Nugent, James ‘Nellie’ Walsh, is currently in prison serving a 10-year sentence for gun offences. A fourth associate is living in Clondalkin and gardaí fear for his safety.
The rival gang is led by a figure who has bases in Spain and Ireland. He is closely associated with the Kinahan crime cartel and was questioned recently in relation to a murder conspiracy.
Another violent individual is leading the gang’s operation on the ground and sources believe he is orchestrating the murders.
Gardaí said Mr Gibson, a fitness instructor from Lucan, arrived at the car park of Citywest Shopping Centre at around 9.20pm on Monday. Shortly after he stopped another vehicle pulled in, the occupant got out and fired into Mr Gibson’s Audi.
The victim tried to flee but was shot again at close range. Some five shots were fired in all.
Superintendent Peter Duff of Tallaght Garda Station said a burned out Volkswagen Caddy van, dumped in a neighbouring housing estate, may have been the vehicle used in the attack. A magazine for a gun was found in the passenger seat.
Supt Duff appealed to residents of the Verschoyle estate and people at the shopping centre after 8pm to contact them at Tallaght Garda Station on 01 6666000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
The Garda Technical Bureau is examining both vehicles and will determine if Mr Gibson’s car had been attached with a tracking device.
Garda sources said Mr Gibson, just a week after his associate’s murder, would have been particularly careful about meeting people and suspect his car may have been either tracked or was ffollowed.
Community sources in Clondalkin said the State must make serious efforts to “break” the power of gangs.
“The impact on children, when someone is shot dead in their estate — the normalisation of it,” said the source. “They think that’s what you do — ‘you just blow him away’.”
He said local Criminal Assets Bureaus were needed to target the 19- and 20-year-olds driving “flashy cars, with the nice apartment and shopping in New York” as they were the ones impacting the community.
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