A PREGNANT woman was hospitalised after two masked youths fired a sawn-off shotgun during a struggle in her home.
The teen assailants fled the scene after grappling with a man at the home in Bray, Co Wicklow, last Sunday at 9.30pm.
During the struggle a shot was fired into the house which contained the man's pregnant partner and two young children.
The attack is believed to be linked to a local dispute and gardai are trying to establish a precise motive for the shooting.
Superintendent Michael Lernihan of Bray Garda Station described the shooting incident as "sinister".
"We're investigating all the circumstances surrounding the discharge of the firearm, and previous incidents of a similar nature in the area," he said.
"We've conducted house-to-house enquiries and searches in the area.
"The investigation is ongoing. We have yet to recover the weapon and no arrests have been made at this stage."
The rented property where the attack took place is in the Little Bray area, which is inhabited mainly by elderly people.
The attack occurred after two youths wearing balaclavas approached the house and were met at the door by the man, who tried desperately to wrestle the gun from them.
A shot was discharged during the course of the altercation and hit the stairs. The armed duo fled the scene on foot.
The two young men gardai believe were responsible for the shooting were in their late teens, early 20s, they were wearing dark clothing and balaclavas, according to Supt Lernihan.
The woman was advised to go to the hospital by gardai following the attack as she is in the early stages of her pregnancy.
She was found not to have suffered any injuries and was subsequently discharged from hospital.
Supt Lernihan urged anyone with information or witnesses who may have seen the two assailants fleeing the scene to contact them at Bray Garda Station on (01) 6665300 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
Local councillor John Brady said the incident had affected everybody in the area.
"This attack was a very frightening one for those involved," he said. "Bray, like any other urban area, has issues but an attack of this nature still comes as a shock.
"I was down at the scene in the morning after the attack and people were very frightened. There are a lot of elderly people in the area and they are petrified."