Saturday 18 November 2017

'I'm looking down the barrel ... thinking I'm going to die' - witness

Gardai speak to shocked locals after the shooting (Collins)
Gardai speak to shocked locals after the shooting (Collins)
Gardai seal off the scene at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra (Collins)

Terrified boxing fans, journalists and hotel guests were all caught up in the shooting terrorat the Regency Hotel.

President of the Boxing Union, Mel Christle, described the moment the chaos unfolded at the Clash of the Clans weigh-in at the Regency Hotel.

He said that he saw the "distorted" face of victim David Byrne, slumped against the reception desk.

One BBC journalist described how he was "staring down the barrel of a gun".

Kevin McAnena, a sports reporter, was one of dozens of people in the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra when gunmen opened fire.

The Radio Foyle reporter said that he froze when the gunmen entered the lobby dressed in garda-like uniforms.


"Most other people had run out and I almost kind of froze. One other guy ran across the lobby and one of the guys with the guns shot him in the lower leg and he went down," he said.

"He was possibly six feet from me. At that point I jumped over the reception desk and got on the ground.

"I started shouting 'don't shoot, don't shoot' because I could hear more gunfire from the other side.

"The gunman leaned over the reception desk and pointed the gun at me.

"I was still shouting 'don't shoot' and he said something I can't recall now and left.

"He was holding the gun down at me…and I'm looking down the barrel of the gun.

"At this point I was thinking I'm going to die. I never knew the meaning of the word 'terrified' until this afternoon."

Mr McAnena said that he then took refuge in an office where he stayed for almost an hour with the receptionist.

"We were too terrified to come out. We worked out that it couldn't be gardai because people were shot so indiscriminately," he said.

A witness inside the room said that a man came in the door and fired three shots into the air and all hell broke lose.

"There were glasses breaking, chairs toppling over. It was pure chaos as people tried to run," he said. "They weren't shooting sporadically - they were picking their targets."

Mel Christle said that the Clash of the Clans weigh-in had concluded when gunfire began.

"There were several shots fired, but not over a dozen," he said. "I saw two individuals - one dressed as a woman but it was a man dressed as a woman - running away from the scene.

"There were two other people at the back and apparently they were dressed as gardai and they were shooting.

"Everyone including quite young children - as young as five - and their relatives were there. What was actually more frightening was the gunfire outside the building. There was a full scale exchange of gunfire outside the room.

"I ran out through the fire escape but you could hear the gun shots ringing outside the hotel.

"The first shots were inside the room but the rest were outside at reception."


Mr Christle said that 100 or so attendees at the event jumped for cover.

"The majority of them lay on the ground when the shooting began," he said. "One person had been shot in his leg at the very back of the hall.

"Then when I was leaving about 20 minutes later, I could see a corpse slumped against the reception desk.

"His face was completely distorted is all I can say about it."

Mr Christle said that because the safety of the public was compromised by the incident, the second boxing promotion last night and the main event tonight were cancelled.

"The perpetrators should be ashamed of themselves - particularly as there were young children involved," he said.

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