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Thursday 29 September 2016

A 'Miracle escape' for man blasted by mistake

Gardai at the scene of the shooting on the Greenhills Road. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Gardai at the scene of the shooting on the Greenhills Road. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The latest shooting victim in the capital had a "miracle escape" after he was targeted in a case of mistaken identity.

Sources said last night that John O'Connor (41) survived because of the way he was standing when the gunman struck.

Mr O' Connor, who was in the Cullen's Car Spares premises on business, was injured in the attack with the gunman then fleeing on foot into a waiting getaway car.

The victim - who was not the intended target of the attack - was approached from behind by the gunman but turned slightly, meaning he was hit with shotgun pellets in the chest.

Mr O'Connor, from Westbourne Avenue in Clondalkin, was in a serious but stable condition in Tallaght Hospital, and a source said he is "extremely lucky to be alive".

The incident occurred at 11.35am yesterday at the car parts yard on Greenhills Road, Walkinstown.

Incident

A man armed with a shotgun made his way on foot into the scrapyard and discharged a number of shots.

He then escaped into the waiting car, which was later located a short distance from the scene on Corrig Close.

It is understood that gardai have recovered excellent CCTV footage of the incident, and are appealing for information on two suspects - the driver of the car and a tall man wearing a grey tracksuit.

It is understood that Mr O'Connor is involved in the car dismantling and scrap trades.

Cullen's Car Spares is one of three different car parts businesses located in the same area of the Greenhills Road and the owners of the three businesses are related to each other.

Gardai sealed off the scene in the aftermath of the gun attack yesterday. Large numbers of partly dismantled cars were stacked in the yards. The area where the shooting took place had a bright blue security fence, a CCTV camera at the entrance and a sign which stated "all customers please report to office".

Resident

A local worker said he had no idea anything was wrong until he saw the garda helicopter hovering overhead, and a resident living nearby said she had no idea what happened until she saw an ambulance parked beside the road.

"It had been raining very heavily and I was minding a three-year-old girl. I didn't hear anything," she said.

"I've lived here for over 30 years and nothing like this has happened before. The guards came and told me a chap was after being shot. They asked me if I saw anything, but I didn't. Thank God no one was killed."

Another man working nearby said: "The ambulance crew worked on the man who was shot for about 20 minutes before they took him to hospital, but we heard he wasn't seriously wounded."

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