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SHOOTOUT HERO; Store boss Michael opens fire as ram raiders run him down.

Byline: PATSY McARDLE

A FILLING station owner was run over by a getaway car yesterday in a shootout with a gang of ram raiders who smashed their way into his shop

Michael Quinn, a 38-year-old father of four, went down fighting after he tackled the gang single-handed.

The four robbers tried to kill him as he blocked their way, mangling his legs under the wheels as he was dragged along the road. The raiders struck at Cloughvalley Stores on the main Dublin-to-Derry road outside Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan at 4.10am.

The gang lifted a manhole cover on the man highway near the store to cut a telephone cable to the complex which operated the alarm system.

They smashed open the door but triggered an inside buzzer which awakened Mr Quinn who was sleeping in his house next door.

When the alarm went off, he grabbed a legally held gun and ran to the store where he was confronted by the armed raiders.

After an exchange of shots, the gang ran outside to a waiting silver Mitsubishi car which had the number plates removed.

Mr Quinn ran after them and aimed at the driver, forcing him to stop.

But as he was waiting for Gardai to arrive, the car was suddenly started and driven at him.

He was knocked to the ground and suffered a broken leg.

Gardai failed to stop as it sped towards Carrickmacross.

Mr Quinn was treated at the scene for severe leg injuries and later taken to Navan Hospital where he had surgery yesterday afternoon for a compound leg fracture.

He was described last night as "fairly comfortable".

Locals praised him for his bravery in tackling the gang.

His shocked wife Bridie said: "It was a terrifying experience for us - thank God it didn't end worse."

Another resident said: "Michael is the hero of the town. He was very brave to take on these criminals - he could have been killed.

"We hope the Gardai will be successful in apprehending them."

A Garda spokesman said: "The way in which the gang cut the alarm system indicates they were professionals, possibly operating out of Dublin or some other large centre.

"The hunt for the raiders is continuing."

Carrickmacross council chairwoman Rosaleen O'Hanlon said: "We all deplore this type of crime. Mr Quinn must be commended for his vigilance and the great courage he displayed.

"These people are ruthless and will stop at nothing to snatch other people's hard earned cash or property."

CAPTION(S):

BRAVE: Michael Quinn fought the gang; TARGET: Michael's filling station yesterday after the gun raid horror
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2001
Words:432
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