Detectives suspect that the victim, Neil Reilly, a 36-year-old drug dealer, was involved in firing shots into a house in Ronanstown, west Dublin, at around 4am yesterday.
After Reilly and possibly an accomplice fled in a getaway car, they were pursued by a group of up to five men in at least one vehicle.
There was a 5km pursuit across Clondalkin, into neighbouring Lucan, where the car Reilly was travelling in was cornered in the Glebe housing estate, near where Reilly lived, in St Finian’s Close.
There was a mass fight there and Reilly was severely assaulted by the pursuing gang. Gardaí are investigating reports that knives or other sharp weapons were used on him.
They are also investigating reports that a car driven by gang members drove over Reilly.
He was brought to James Connolly Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5.30am.
The deceased had a partner and, it is thought, two children, a teenage boy and a young girl.
Superintendent Dermot Mann, who is leading the investigation, said a number of shots, from a shotgun, were fired into the house at Liscarne Gardens in Ronanstown at around 4am.
He said there were an estimated four or five adults in the house at the time.
“Nobody was injured in that incident,” he said.
“A number of cars left there, but we are not sure how many.”
He said that, very soon after, gardaí were alerted to an incident at the Glebe housing estate in Esker, Lucan, were a number of cars had crashed into each other.
“We are not sure how many cars or people were involved,” he said.
“But, after the crash, there was a serious altercation on the street involving five to six people or maybe more.”
Supt Mann said the victim had “substantial injuries” when he was brought to hospital and confirmed they were treating the death as murder.
He said “one avenue of investigation” was that a group of men left the house that had been shot at and pursued the victim.
Detectives are trying to identify the occupants of the house and locate them.
Supt Mann said: “There is no known motive at this stage. It’s probably too early in the investigation. We’re keeping all avenues open.”
Reilly was a known drug dealer and had numerous convictions. In May 2011, he was given a seven-year sentence for drugs supply.
Gardaí will look back at his convictions and his time in prison.
It is the second gangland murder in Lucan in a month after drug dealer Mark Desmond was shot dead in nearby Griffeen Valley Park.
Supt Mann asked anyone who saw anything suspicious at Liscarne Gardens or in the Glebe estate, or between the two locations, including cars driving fast or people on foot, to contact Lucan Garda Station on 01 6667300 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.