THE GARDA SÍOCHANA Ombudsman’s Commission (GSOC) has issued a statement in relation to the shooting dead of Mark Hennessy by a member of the force.
On Sunday night, Hennessy was shot by an armed garda in Cherrywood Business Park after a nationwide search for him concluded. It has been alleged that he had attempted to attack an unarmed garda with a Stanley blade when he was shot twice.
He is believed to have abducted and strangled 24-year-old accountancy student Jastine Valdez in the 24 hours before he was killed.
Following a post-mortem examination of his body, TheJournal.ie understands that Hennessy was shot in the shoulder and that the bullet bounced off his collarbone and ricocheted into an artery.
Some people on social media had criticised the gardaí when it was originally reported that Hennessy was shot in the head at Cherrywood Business Park in south Dublin on Sunday evening.
A GSOC investigation into the shooting has been launched, with a statement saying:
“Following the post-mortem, and the issuing of the required notifications of the GSOC investigation to the relevant parties, GSOC can confirm the following:
The incident was referred to GSOC under section 102 (1) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended (“the 2005 Act”) at 20.43 on Sunday 20 May. Section 102 (1) requires the Garda Commissioner to refer to GSOC “any matter that appears to the Garda Commissioner to indicate that the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person”.
A team of GSOC investigators from Cork were at the scene from 23.50.
A garda service weapon was recovered from the scene by GSOC. The remaining ammunition and one spent cartridge was located in the firearm. A Stanley knife was subsequently recovered from the vehicle, the Nissan Qashqai, which had been the subject of a garda alert in the preceding hours.
A post-mortem on Monday 21 May established that the man identified as Mark Hennessy had been shot in the shoulder, and that the bullet entered his torso causing fatal injuries. The deceased was in the driver’s seat at the time of the shooting. Other wounds consistent with self-harming were noted on his body.
GSOC investigators are in the process of collecting evidence including video footage of the incident. In particular GSOC is in possession of a recording from the ANPR camera of the Garda traffic car which was at the scene. CCTV recordings from premises in the vicinity have been provided to GSOC investigators. Witnesses are being identified and contacted in the ordinary way.
Following a preliminary examination of the incident under s. 91 of the 2005 Act, GSOC is now undertaking an investigation under s. 98 of the 2005 Act, which is for incidents that appear to involve offences. Under the provisions of s. 98 of the 2005 Act GSOC investigators have, for the purposes of the investigation, all the powers, immunities and privileges and duties imposed on members of the Garda Síochána.
GSOC has appointed a family liaison officer (FLO) to engage with the family of the deceased man.
A note apologising for killing Jastine was found in the car. The note also indicated to gardaí where she was buried. The handwritten words, along with GPS data retrieved from the vehicle’s on board navigation system, helped gardaí track her body.
Anyone with information which may be of assistance to the investigation is asked to contact GSOC at 1890 600 800 or email@example.com or DM the Twitter account @GardaOmbudsman.