A man, who miraculously escaped serious injury despite being shot twice in the chest, was set up by a person who is well known to him, gardaí believe.
Stephen Somers (27) remained in St Vincent’s Hospital last night, where he was being treated for “particularly nasty” injuries to his arm following a murder attempt in Bray, Co Wicklow, at 8.45pm on Wednesday.
Somers will not require surgery, even though a would-be hitman fired two shots from an automatic pistol into both sides of his chest. Both bullets exited the criminal’s body in the botched gangland hit and the most serious injuries he suffered were from being shot in the arm.
He was sitting in the passenger seat of a car when the gunman struck. The handgun used in the attack was left at the scene.
Initially, gardaí believed he was targeted in a drive-by shooting but last night they were investigating whether the gunman was on foot after they located a dark coloured VW Golf they originally thought was the vehicle the shots had been fired from.
The scene of the shooting at St Laurence’s Terrace in Bray remained sealed off yesterday as the investigation into the incident continued.
The street is a quiet cul-de-sac that was previously the scene of the fatal fire that claimed the lives of firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy in 2007.
A line of gardaí filed across the road and walked the length of it, searching for evidence that might help trace the gunman.
They lifted drain covers and traffic cones, and also used metal detectors, and searched gardens along the road in a detailed fingertip search.
Somers was in the passenger seat of the car when the gunman fired across a 40-year-old local woman who was in the driver side of the vehicle.
It can be revealed this woman, who is also known to gardaí, “possibly saved the victim’s life” when she took off her jumper and used it to stem the blood flow.
After emergency services rushed to the scene, the woman travelled to hospital in the ambulance with the victim.
She remained at St Vincent’s for a number of hours but then “went missing” before gardaí located her yesterday evening.
Somers is well known to gardaí and he was given a five-year jail sentence at Dublin Circuit Court in March 2014 after he pleaded guilty to the possession of an explosive substance.
That charge related to his being caught with a pipe bomb by gardaí at Killininny Road, in Firhouse, on May 16, 2012, as part of a special operation codenamed Operation Enchant, targeting the pipe-bomb epidemic that year.