‘The gun jammed. If it didn’t he was a dead man’

The bullet-damaged front door of the house in  Tullamore, Co Offaly. Pic: James Flynn

A man who was shot along with his partner in front of their young son on Sunday, would be dead had the gun not jammed, the woman’s father has said.

A lone gunman shot the 32-year-old as he arrived home with his 7-year-old son to the Cluain Darach estate in Tullamore, Co Offaly, at around 7pm on Sunday evening.

His 27-year-old partner was shot in the shoulder when a bullet passed through the front door of their house. The couple are believed to have three young children.

The gunman, who was armed with a pistol, fired a number of shots before the gun jammed and a scuffle ensued.

The would-be killer attempted to fire again before fleeing in a silver-coloured car towards the Tullamore bypass. A car was discovered burnt out in Durrow, Co Offaly, a short time later.

The injured woman was taken by ambulance to the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore where she underwent surgery. Her partner was treated at the scene by paramedics for a graze wound to his back.

Gardaí are treating the incident as attempted murder and have appealed for information.

A man in his 20s was arrested yesterday morning. He is being detained at Tullamore Garda Station under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

The injured woman’s father, John Daly, claimed over 40 shots had been fired at the house in seven separate incidents in the past three years and bullets had lodged in the children’s bedroom ceiling.

“There was 19 shots fired altogether the last time,” he said. “Up to this, it was only the windows that have been shot, but last night it was an all-out attempt to shoot him.”

The intended victim was fortunate, because “the gun jammed. If it didn’t, he was a dead man”, said Mr Daly.

When the weapon jammed, the intended target ran at the gunman and a struggle ensued while the man continued to pull the trigger.

According to Mr Daly, CCTV from the property captured the event and the footage is being studied by gardaí. Mr Daly, whose daughter was struck by a stray bullet, was relieved his grandson was unharmed.

When Mr Daly spoke with the boy, “he just turned around and said ‘jeez granddad, it was a real gun’”.

Mr Daly wants the couple and their children moved closer to the centre of town, where a garda CCTV system is in place. He said the man’s brother lives closer to the centre of town and “nothing ever happens to his house”.

Gardaí are investigating possible links between the shooting and a feud involving two criminal gangs in Offaly. A number of gun-related incidents have been connected to the feud since 2010, with shots fired at houses in Tullamore and Clara.

In total, more than 50 serious incidents of violence are believed to be related to the feud, including a botched gun attack at a Tullamore gym last May.

Garda Inspector Kieran Keyes appealed to anyone who saw the silver car or anything suspicious in the area between 7pm and 8pm on Sunday to call Tullamore Gardaí on 057-9327600 or the confidential line at 1800-666 111.


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