A man armed with a sawn-off shotgun roamed Limerick on a pedal bike in broad daylight, seeking to shoot people. He wounded one man on a busy street while the victim was chatting to a group including young girls, one with special needs.
Some hours later, after being chased on his bike, he pulled the gun on gardaí telling them he would have killed somebody had he not been arrested.
Jason Freyne said: “I was going to leave off a shot at them, the gardaí, that were chasing me.”
Details of the escapade emerged at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday where Freyne, aged 23, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to charges of possessing a 12- gauge sawn-off shotgun and cartridges at Hyde Road on May 9, last year with intent to endanger life.
His first attack was carried out on Hyde Road at around lunchtime when a group came under fire.
One man was wounded and another avoided injury when shotgun pellets hit a wall and a gate pillar at the entrance to a house where he took refuge.
Over two hours after the shooting, Freyne, pursued by gardaí, rode his bike through the city centre in search of another victim. When captured he was found with the weapon and wearing a bullet-proof vest.
In custody, Freyne told gardaí after the Hyde Road shooting, he had started out on another mission and would have shot somebody had he not been arrested.
Det Garda Brian O’Connor, Roxboro Road Garda Station said the man who was wounded in the attack, Joseph ‘Dodo’ McCarthy, aged 43, had gone to meet Liam ‘Lika’ Casey who lived at 163, Hyde Road at around 2.30pm on May 9 last.
They sat on a wall outside the house. A number of others were present including two teenage girls, one with special needs, two women and Liam Casey Snr. A man came into view, cycling in the direction of the railway station.
Suddenly, the man started roaring, jumped off his bike and ran towards the group. He pulled out a sawn-off shotgun and left off a number of shots. Mr ‘Dodo’ McCarthy was hit and wounded in the arm, thigh and right leg.
Mr McCarthy said afterwards it was like being hit with a sledgehammer.
Det Garda O’Connor said there had been a previous incident involving Freyne’s girlfriend and another girl.
Once Freyne started shooting, the group ran into Mr Casey’s house and as Liam Casey Snr entered the house, shotgun pellets hit a wall and a gate pillar.
One girl captured the incident on a mobile phone video.
Three hours later, Det Garda James Hourihane was driving his private car at Condell Road when he saw Freyne and called for armed support back up.
Pursued by gardaí, Freyne abandoned his bike at Lower Mallow St and ran down Henry St. At a laneway next to Henry Street Garda Station, gardaí including Sgt Derek De Loughrey, Garda Dave Slattery and Garda Dan Murphy cornered him.
Freyne claimed he was shot at first in Hyde Road.
Judge Tom O’Donnell adjourned sentencing to May 5 and Freyne was remanded in custody.
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