Man jailed for shooting Emergency Response Unit garda during raid
6th October 2021
A MEMBER OF the garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) who was shot during a raid of a criminal’s home has said “not a day goes by” when he doesn’t think of other colleagues who have been killed in the line of duty.© Sam Boal Garda at the scene of the shooting in Barnwell Drive Ballymun Dublin 11 in 2017.
Sergeant Paul McManus was at the back of a house that had been secured for a drug search when Charles Moore (48) fired a shot that struck the officer in his left forearm.
The garda read his victim impact statement during Moore’s sentence hearing before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today. Sgt McManus spoke of how he feels lucky to be alive while some of his other colleagues have died on duty.
“There is not a day goes by when I don’t think of the families of those colleagues,” Sgt McManus continued before he added he didn’t know whether it was “luck” or “divine intervention” that caused Moore’s gun to jam that morning.
He said he “felt physically rocked to my very core” after hearing about the death of Garda Colm Horkan in Roscommon in June 2020 and said the news of his shooting “sent me to a very dark place”.
Sgt McManus said he continually feels “huge relief” and “huge guilt”.
Speaking of how the shooting affected his young children, he said “in the weeks after, they were uneasy in their own home because they thought the bad man would come to their own house.”
He added that one of his children kept a toy gun by their bed.
He said he was sorry for bringing this into the lives of his children and his wife, saying, “she had no choice that I brought this to her door. I can only apologise”.
Moore of Barnwell Drive, Ballymun, had pleaded not guilty to possession of a semi-automatic pistol without a lawful purpose, possession of five rounds of ammunition without a lawful purpose, possession of a semi-automatic pistol with the intent to endanger life, possession of five rounds of ammunition with the intention to endanger life, the reckless discharge of a firearm and assault of a garda at his home on December 7, 2017.© Sam Boal Gardaai at the scene at Barnwell Drive Ballymun Dublin 11 on the morning after the shooting.
He was convicted on all counts following a three-week trial last June. He has 18 previous convictions including one for possession of drugs for sale or supply and assault causing harm.
Judge Martin Nolan said it was “common case” that Moore’s home had been attacked “by criminal elements” prior to December and Moore had procured the gun to defend himself.
“Unfortunately, he seemed to have spent the night drinking and taking drugs so by the time gardaí arrived he was in no condition to make a proper assessment of the situation”.
“In his drunken state he heard someone or became aware of some activity in the back garden. The gardaí were obvious, wearing the appropriate apparel,” Judge Nolan continued.
He said that if Moore had been in a position to properly assess the situation, he would have realised it was armed gardaí at his home.
“He had a gun available to him and he fired the gun and hit Gda McManus,” the judge said.
The judge said he accepted that Moore didn’t intend to shoot and injure a garda “but by reason of his intoxicated state he was in no position to make any such assessment.”
Judge Nolan sentenced Moore to nine years in prison for the offence of endangerment and took the other charges into account.
Garda Paul O’Higgins told Anne Rowland SC, prosecuting, that Sergeant Paul McManus was a member of the ERU which was called in to assist a garda team from Ballymun Garda Station that morning.
There were concerns that Moore’s home had been shot at on two previous occasions and it was decided that the ERU team should secure the premises before the gardaí moved in to search Moore’s home for drugs.
Sgt McManus and a colleague went around to the back of the premises to ensure that no one from the house escaped while his colleagues prepared to breach the front door.
The two gardaí at the back of the building noticed that the lights and television were on in the house and shouted armed gardaí while sending a message to alert their colleagues at the front that there was movement inside.
Sgt McManus positioned himself against a wall where he could watch the back door when he noticed the handle moving. He sent a message to his other colleagues alerting them to “activity” while again he shouted “armed gardaí”.
The door then opened and Sgt McManus saw Moore. He recognised him as he had already been shown a photograph of the man at an earlier briefing at Ballymun Garda Station.
Sgt McManus suddenly found himself recoiling and was sent backwards. He realised he had been shot and felt excruciating pain in his left upper arm. He called out to his colleague that he had been shot.
Gda O’Higgins said the rest of the ERU unit moved in and Moore was lying on the floor. He no longer had a gun. He was arrested and Sgt McManus was attended to by colleagues who had medical training.
Sgt McManus underwent three hospitalisation and two surgeries to repair the damage done to his left arm from the shooting.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
He said he has undergone 50 sessions of physiotherapy and has been diagnosed as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He suffers from muscle spasms, headaches, insomnia and bouts of guilt and rage.
Sgt McManus said he has since made the decision to get medically discharged from an Garda Siochana having initially returned to the force in January 2018. He said his ability to earn was affected which has led to a more difficult financial situation leading to more stress.
He said when he left his home that day, he had no idea that what was about to transpire would effectively end his career as a garda.
He said he was shot once but he has re-lived that moment a thousand times. “The sickening thud of the bullet hitting the bone, the smell of my flesh burning,” Sgt McManus said before he added that he would also never forget the bravery of his colleagues and also the “fear in my wife’s voice” when he later got to speak to her.
He spoke of being at home while recovering from his injuries but said he was “not present” for his wife and children. His mind was instead in that back garden in Ballymun.
Sgt McManus said the incident is like “a video on loop” and “the what ifs move to infinity”.
Sgt McManus spoke of returning to his duties in early 2019 but said it soon became apparent that his arm was not recovering. He had returned a second time but he found the trial very difficult and later sought a medical discharge after he said it became clear he could no longer continue with his career.
Sgt McManus finished his victim impact statement by thanking his colleagues and the legal teams who prosecuted the case.