The gunmen were unaware of a nearby army patrol and were spotted as the attack was in progress. The IRA's James McGrillen had leapt from a car and shot both teenagers, but before he knew it he had been shot himself, by the British soldiers. As the terrorists tried to escape they crashed into a garden. The soldiers exchanged fire with a second gunman who exited the vehicle and managed to escape on foot. McGrillen was found inside the car with a fatal head wound. Two other occupants, both youths, were later jailed for unlawful wounding. The Protestant teens who had been targeted were both seriously injured, but survived.
McGrillen came from a hardline republican family and was a second cousin of Bobby Sands. His daughter was also shot dead by the army, 14 years later, after the stolen car in which she was travelling sped through a checkpoint.
|Ballygomartin Road, scene of McGrillen's death|