Swords in shock at man’s brutal murder outside local gym

by Sylvia Pownall

The Swords community is in shock this week after the brutal murder of 23-year-old Zach Parker who was shot dead leaving his local gym in Applewood.

Gardai are appealing for witnesses to the violent killing last Thursday, January 17, which they believe may be linked to a drugs feud in north Dublin.

An innocent friend who was sitting in the passenger seat of Zach’s BMW X5 was shot in the chest and remains in a serious but stable condition at Beaumont Hospital.

Zach was known to Gardai and led a lavish lifestyle not compatible with his earnings as a barber, but he came from a well-respected Swords family from Seatown.

Cllr Duncan Smith (Lab) told Dublin Gazette: “The resounding mood around Swords has been one of sadness, and of shock. People are very sad that a young man from the town was taken in such a violent fashion.

“He was very well known and some of the local shops posted nice messages and tributes.

“He had an impact – there was a candle-lit vigil for him attended by lots of friends and family.

“He was only 23, a really young man, and it’s an absolute tragedy for his family.

“It’s still very raw and the place seems quieter and more solemn. Swords is a big town but it has a village feel and it’s still very close-knit.”

Investigating Gardai issued a detailed description of the “tall, athletically built” gangland killer who fired at least five shots into the car as Zach drove out of a car park.

Swords Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said: “I’m shocked and appalled. That someone so young would have lost their life … shows total disregard for human life and the rule of law.

“I have friends who live in the area and who use that gym. Anyone could have been innocently caught up in this attack.”

Zach was convicted of possession of almost €3,000 of cocaine for sale or supply in April 2018. His solicitor told the court he turned to drugs as a coping mechanism when his grandmother became terminally ill.

According to neighbours in Jugback Lane, there had been threats on his life and his car was firebombed last year.

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