Daniel Kinahan fled after two men, one dressed as a woman, fired into the ceiling at a boxing weigh-in at a suite of the Regency Hotel.
David Byrne, aged 33, from Crumlin, Dublin, a senior member of the Kinahan gang, was shot dead. He was hit more than three times, including once in the head, by an attacker dressed in garda Swat-style uniform, brandishing an AK-47.
Senior sources said “tensions were high” in the run-up to Byrne’s funeral, with 24-hour armed patrols and uniformed checkpoints on both sides of the city.
Gardaí suspect the attack is linked to a spiralling feud between a drug trafficking network led by Spanish-based convicted dealer Christy Kinahan, the father of Daniel, and associates of north Dublin criminal Gary Hutch, shot dead in the Costa del Sol last September.
Officers believe they have made a “great start” in their investigation after the two gunmen in the suite were photographed, with handguns, leaving the hotel.
Their faces, particularly of a man with a flat cap, are clearly visible and detectives are trying to identify them.
Sources said at least one of the gang, numbering six at least, had a Dublin accent.
Officers said the brandishing of AK-47s by three masked criminals in public was “unprecedented” and likened them to Provisional IRA “active service units” of decades past. Garda sources said these gunmen, dressed in Swat uniforms, were “professional” and the entire operation was “sophisticated”.
One source said: “With automatic weapons they could have killed innocent bystanders if they wanted to, but they knew what they were doing.”