An innocent great-grandmother has become one of the oldest shooting victims in the history of the State.
May Brown (77) was lucky to survive after being shot in a reckless attack at her south Dublin home.
Her six-year-old great-grandson was in the house at the time.
The popular OAP was being treated in St Vincent's Hospital last night after receiving a single shot from a handgun in the lower part of her left leg.
The incident happened at her home on Oliver Plunkett Avenue in Monkstown at 11.05pm on Thursday.
Gardai believe she was not the intended target of the shooting. Rather, they suspect that a young man who is known to her may have been the target of the gunman, who fired multiple shots.
Sources said the young man has been in a bitter dispute with local drug dealers.
This led to an assault earlier in the week.
Ms Brown has absolutely no involvement in this dispute and is considered an "extremely decent" lady.
She was shot by a lone gunman who knocked on her front door. When she opened it, the attacker did not speak but opened fire, hitting her in the leg.
Ms Brown was hit only once, though a number of shots were fired at the widow.
The gunman then fled the cul-de-sac on foot.
Gardai have no information about which direction he went in, or whether he was picked up in a getaway car.
Sources stressed a local drugs gang was suspected in the case and arrests were expected in the coming days.
The investigation into the shooting is being led by Dun Laoghaire gardai and yesterday Supt Martin Fitzgerald appealed for information in the case, which he described as "highly unusual" and "very callous".
"We believe that the woman was injured from one discharge from the firearm although we believe there were multiple shots discharged at the scene by the lone gunman," he said.
"There were no words of exchange from the culprit, who did not speak throughout the particular incident.
"In terms of a description, what we're working on at this moment of time is a male in dark clothing.
"We have no assessment as to what age he is, but he has a height description of 5ft 7in to 5ft 10in."
Neighbours living on the quiet cul-de-sac said they were shocked at what had taken place.
Marian Lee, who lives around the back of Ms Brown's house, said she had no idea what had happened.
"I just went to the blinds, which I wouldn't normally do, I let the dog out the back and the dog went absolutely mad and was running up and down, barking like crazy," she said.
"The dog behind me was absolutely howling and I thought no more about it and said 'OK, it's probably a cat or something like that'.
"But then I heard it was May. Who on earth would shoot May Brown? She's never done anything wrong in her whole life."
Another neighbour, who has been living close by for more than a decade, described Ms Brown as "salt of the earth".
"I've known May for years. She's a salt of the earth woman and I'm absolutely mad about her," she said.
"She's one of those people that would do absolutely anything for anybody."