A member of the garda emergency response unit who was shot during a raid of a criminal’s home has said “not a day goes by” when he does not think of other colleagues who have been killed in the line of duty.
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 on Tuesday, speaking 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 adding that he did not 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. “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 7th, 2017.
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 did not 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.