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Suspect held in clothes war hit on dad and son

A LITHUANIAN man is still being quizzed by detectives today in connection with the shooting of a fellow national and his 17-year-son in a south Dublin estate.

Virgis Aleksiunas (38) was hit in the chest and face from close range as he was about to drive his son Alex to school from their home in Aiken's Village, Sandyford, at around 8.30am yesterday.

He is in a stable but serious condition at St Vincent's Hospital. His son suffered minor injuries when struck by flying glass -- the windscreen was shattered by up to half-a-dozen bullets.

One bullet from the semi- automatic weapon may have hit his wrist.

The brave teenager tried to tackle the gunman, who had an accomplice who was armed with a shotgun. His intervention may have prevented them from making their escape in the Ford Mondeo they drove to the scene.

The incident is believed to be linked to a "clothes war" among eastern Europeans.

The 41-year-old Lithuanian, under arrest at Blackrock Garda Station is being quizzed about a possible role in assisting the gunmen in the aftermath of the shooting.

He was detained in west Dublin yesterday afternoon and can be held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act for 72 hours. The victim has been living in the area for about five years and works in the second-hand clothes trade, exporting them to eastern Europe.

The shooting happened as the father and son were about to leave from their home in the family Mercedes.

But their path was blocked by a silver Mondeo, registration number 99 D 47450.





Blankets

After shooting at point-black range from several feet, the gunman and his accomplice ran off.

They are understood to have headed in the direction of Sandyford Hall estate and then towards Kilgobbin Road or Murphystown Road.

Neighbours described how they saw 17-year-old Alex cradle his wounded father in his arms outside their home.

"The family's next door neighbour Mal Numann said he first thought there had been a car crash when he heard the noise outside.

"He then realised his neighbour had been shot and he brought out blankets to comfort the injured man.

"The father was in the young man's arms, and he was trying to keep him alert. I could see there was blood coming out of the father's mouth. Everyone was hysterical."

Both cars were taken away from the scene for forensic examination.

At least one casing from the bullets was left in the Mercedes. Gardai at Blackrock (01-666 5200) are asking members of the public who may have been anything suspicious in the area between 8.30am and 9am to contact them.





Rival

The second-hand clothing business is highly lucrative, with various " agencies" collecting bin bags of second-hand clothes left outside households for early collection almost every day of the week.

Last year a man was shot twice in Artane on Dublin's Northside by a rival involved in the clothes business in an attempt to force him out of the business.

hnews@herald.ie