herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Shots are fired in row at estate near Melanie's murder

SHOTS were fired last night in an estate close to where 16-year-old Melanie McCarthy McNamara was shot dead last week.

Gardai are investigating the incident, which occurred just yards from where children were playing.

It is understood at least one shot was fired from a shotgun when a row between two men escalated out of control at Bawnlea Avenue just before 10pm.

Bawnlea is just a mile from where Melanie McCarthy was shot dead in Rossfield Avenue as she sat in a car on Tuesday night with her boyfriend.

Detectives responding to an emergency call from a concerned resident arrived in the area and noticed three suspicious vehicles at the scene.

Two of these cars - a silver VW Golf and a blue BMW - were seized by gardai and are being forensically examined.

The occupants were searched and questioned by detectives but no arrests were made. Gardai also noticed a black BMW parked nearby and questioned the occupant, but did not seize the vehicle. A spent shotgun cartridge was found close by.

The four "persons of interest" connected to the incident are all men in their 20s. Two are from the Tallaght area while the other men have addresses in Lucan and Kilcock, Co Kildare.

A source said: "This investigation is at an early stage. The problem that gardai have is that there is no CCTV of the incident and no eye witnesses.

"At this stage, there does not seem to be any link to last week's murder but gardai are keeping an open mind."

Drugs

Local sources say that Bawnlea Avenue like other areas in Tallaght has seen "an upsurge" in gang-related incidents over the past couple of months. "There has been an increase in tensions around here - it all has to do with drugs," said a source.

"But a number of prominent dissident Republicans also live in the area," the source added.

Residents today described seeing garda activity last night at the junction of Bawnlea Avenue and Bawnlea Green.

One said she heard two shots being fired in quick succession as a group of children sat on a wall just across the road.

"It's an absolute disgrace. Nothing has been learned by anybody, and that poor girl hasn't even been buried yet," said the resident.

"I was up in my bedroom and then I just heard 'bang, bang' and when I looked out I just saw people fleeing everywhere.

"It's just a disgrace, that's all I can say. And this is happening while gardai are on extra patrols. Nobody is safe."

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