Former cop shoots two Irish men in smoking row in New York

Two young Irishmen who got into a fight outside a bowling alley in Queens, New York on Saturday were shot and seriously wounded by a security guard.

Gerard Hourigan, (29), from Limerick and Justin Donaghy, (29), from Meath were asked to leave by the security guard Michael Lavecchio, (54), a retired new York corrections officer, after they were seen smoking inside the bowling alley early on Saturday morning.

A confrontation outside resulted at about 1.45 a.m. and the guard pulled his legally held .380 gun and shot the two men, Hourigan in the side and Donaghy in the stomach. Both men were brought to nearby Elmhurst Hospital where they are expected to recover.

Police arrested Lavecchio at the scene and charged him with two counts of second-degree assault. The two Irishmen have been charged with menacing. Hourigan's brother Ray flew to New York on Sunday with his parents, "He's improving. Gerard is in a lot of pain, but hopefully he will be fine. It will just take a long time to recover,"

"It must have been an awful experience. Gerard works here as an electrician and is married to Julie. He is out here since February 2003. He is in intensive care at the moment, but he is receiving good care.

"His friend, Justin, is from Meath and is married to Bonnie. He was discharged from the intensive care unit on Sunday and is in a regular ward. I believe that he is making a good recovery."

Their lawyer, JP Delaney of O'Dwyer and Bernstein, said the men were not armed or looking for trouble. "They had no weapon and they didn’t cause any injury. They both have clean records in Ireland and the US. They are both married to American girls. They’re hard-working and they’re both here legally," said Delaney.

It is believed the incident was caught on surveillance camera.