“Daddy help me, Daddy what was that, Daddy what was that?”
The petrified voice of a young child pleading with his panicked father to explain what was happening sums up the terror experienced by those attending a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel where gunmen shot dead one man and seriously injured two others.
As the child’s father shouts “Follow me, follow me,” they can be heard running from the hotel in a 41-second video that captured the moment in which gunmen opened fire at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road yesterday afternoon during a weigh-in for tonight’s now-cancelled WBO European Lightweight title fight between Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio Jao Bento.
Mel Christle, president of the Boxing Union of Ireland, who was there for the weigh-in, said the venue was packed with members of the public at the time, including small children.
“I’d say there were over 200 or possibly between 200-300 members of the public at the weigh-in, including small children, and people were diving for cover [when the gunfire started],” Mr Christle said.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Drivetime programme yesterday, Mr Christle said he had been in charge of the weigh-in and the last fighter had just been weighed in, when “within seconds there was noise from the back”.
Mr Christle said he witnessed a number of gunshots and a male who was “dressed as a woman ran out past me, along with another accomplice. Both had handguns”.
He said at the back of the room were two others, whom he did not see, but he could see a “kerfuffle” around them as they moved through the room, dressed as gardaí.
“And they started shooting as well,” he said, sending everyone diving for cover.
believe what was going on.’
Asked for his “best assessment” of what had happened, Mr Christle said he believed there were four armed individuals: two to rear of the room dressed as gardaí and two to the fore, including the male dressed as a woman “with a long wig on, just making a run for it”.
Asked if they had targeted specific individuals, Mr Christle answered “There is no doubt about that. This was not indiscriminate”. He said they were not targeting the boxers.
He said he had found the experience quite shocking especially the fact that so many young people were exposed to the violence while attending the event with their parents.
“I actually saw the sheer fear. That will live with them for a long long time. It actually touched me how afraid [they were]. I’m sure adults were afraid, but my god, the children couldn’t believe what was going on,” he said.
last year: Fight cancelled.
“I was concentrating on other things. I don’t know what comes over you when something like that happens. You just quietly observe what’s going on,” he said,
Mr Christle said he wasn’t sure if the gunmen were in the room while the weigh-in was underway.
When he passed the reception area 20 minutes later, he saw one of the victims.
“That is where I saw a body, a corpse, lying literally at the end of the reception desk and I’m sure he was trapped. And he was riddled,” Mr Christle said.
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