BOXER Katie Taylor has said she is praying for family of a man killed in a shooting at Bray Boxing Club this week.
Bobby Messett, 50, died after a gunman opened fire in the gym early on Tuesday morning.
Taylor’s father Pete, 57, and another man, 35, were injured in the attack.
In a statement issued through the Irish Times, Olympic Gold medal winner Taylor revealed her relief that her ‘somewhat estranged’ father is recovering well.
She also condemned the ‘misuse’ of her name and image in the media when covering the story, having had no association with the gym for three years.
In the statement, she said: “Following the horrific gun attack that took place in Bray Boxing Club early last Tuesday morning in which one man Bobby Messett was tragically killed and two others Ian Britton and my father Pete Taylor were seriously injured, there has been considerable public interest in all aspects of the event. However, for personal reasons as well as insuring clarity in future stories that will inevitably be written, I would like to make the following statement:
“First and foremost, I would like to wish my most heartfelt condolences to the family of Bobby Messett for their tragic loss. I can’t imagine the despair or the sense of injustice they must be dealing with. I’m praying they know God’s comfort in the hard days ahead.
“For my Dad, I’m very thankful and relieved he made it through this horrific attack and is recovering well. I understand there is still a lot of uncertainty about the nature of the incident but I’m hoping the gardaí will get to the bottom of it very soon.
“As many of you know, I have been somewhat estranged from my Dad for a number of years now. I’ve had little contact with him in the last three years and no contact or association whatsoever with Bray Boxing Club since 2015.
“I have been appalled by the misuse of my name and image during the reporting of this incident in the media coverage, it has been reckless and irresponsible, and a deliberate attempt to inappropriately leverage my name to sell a story. I urge the media to leave me, my Mum and other family members out of this story.
“Finally, to Bobby’s family: You didn’t deserve this heartache, I’m so sorry for your loss.”
The attack took place at the gym at around 7am on Tuesday.
Around 20 people had gathered for an early-morning gym session.
The gunman, who was wearing a hi-vis vest and had his face covered, fled in a silver Volkswagen Caddy van with Northern Irish licence plates.
It was later found abandoned at Pigeon House Road in Dublin at around 8.05am, while a man was seen leaving the van and cycling away.
Gardaí have appealed to anyone who saw the van between 7-8am to contact them, particularly anyone with dashcam footage.
A motive for the attack is still to be determined.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Bray Garda Station on 01-6665300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.