Early on Tuesday morning a gunman entered Bray Boxing Club in the Irish city of Bray, approximately 20 km south of Dublin. He was wearing a dark head covering, possibly a balaclava or motorcycle helmet, and armed with a pistol.
The gunman fired into the crowded gym — where 15-20 people were working out — and then fled the scene in a silver Volkswagen van. One of the shooter’s bullets struck Bobby Messett, 50, in the back of the head, killing him.
Ian Britton, 35, was also shot in the attack. He received two wounds to his legs. The only other person to be shot was Peter Taylor, 57, who was wounded in the upper body. The injuries to both Britton and Taylor are not life-threatening.
According to the Irish Times Ireland’s gardaí, that country’s national police force, believe Taylor — a boxing trainer and father of Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor — was the target of the attack. Authorities believe that Messett and Britton, who were exercising at the time of the shooting, were innocent bystanders.
IT further stated that detectives believe Taylor was recently, ‘drawn into a dispute by drug dealers from west Dublin who decided to shoot him over a personal grudge.’ That outlet added that there is no suggestion that Taylor has been involved in any criminal wrongdoing.
Media in Ireland have reported fears that this shooting could be another chapter in the deadly Kinahan-Hutch feud.
The feud between two of Ireland’s most feared crime organizations lead to a shooting at a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin on February 5th, 2016. That incident (see video above) resulted in the death of David Byrne, a Kinahan family associate.
Patrick Hutch was charged with Byrne’s murder. Hutch is the brother of Gary Hutch, whose murder in Marbella, Spain in 2015 is often cited as the spark that ignited the feud.
According to IT Taylor has worked with boxers who are signed to promoter MTK Global. Daniel Kinahan, who is believed to run the day-to-day operations of the Kinahan cartel, is alleged to have founded that company (per TheJournal.ie).
However, in February, MTK looked to distance itself from Kinahan, according to Independent.ie. MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan was quoted then saying that the promoter had cut ‘all ties’ with Daniel Kinahan.
MTK Global currently represents recent UFC headliner Darren Till and heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury. Katie Taylor is not associated with MTK. She is promoted by Eddie Hearn.
Taylor is considered one of the brightest stars of women’s boxing. The Bray-born fighter won gold at the London Olympics in 2012 and has over a dozen gold metals from amateur World and European championships. She is undefeated in nine professional fights. Her most recent victory was a unanimous decision over Victoria Bustos on April 28th. With that victory Taylor defended her WBA lightweight title and won the IBF lightweight title.
Gardaí are now appealing for witnesses to the shooting of Taylor’s father. They wish to speak with anyone who may have seen (or recorded via dash cam) the getaway van travel from Bray to Dublin before being abandoned along Pigeon House Road. They are also appealing for witnesses who may have seen a male cyclist leave that area around 8:05am.
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