A Co Longford father of one has cheated death after being shot by an armed gang while on holiday in South America.
Michael Gibson (38) was recovering at his home in Perth, Australia this week alongside his wife Danielle and 16-month-old son, Lucas.
The businessman, who originally hails from Abbeycatron in Longford town, was singled out by a gunman, who along with two other raiders burst into the ‘All Dublin’ restaurant bar in the Brazilian city of Aguas Claras.
Mr Gibson sustained a bullet wound to his lower stomach, which passed through his midriff before exiting through his back.
This week, Mr Gibson attempted to recall the shocking moments that led up to the attack as he spoke exclusively to the Leader from his home in Western Australia.
“It was about midnight I suppose and we were about to get the bill when these guys came running in with bandanas over their faces.
“One of them pointed the gun right at my face and told us to lie down on the ground,” he said.
As two of the gang members attempted to make their getaway having pocketed money, jewellery and other valuables from shocked diners, what Mr Gibson hadn’t bargained on was the presence of a third gunman who was lurking menacingly in the background.
As a former member of An Garda Siochana (based in Blanchardstown, Dublin), and the Australian Police Force, Mr Gibson struggled to his feet in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the raiders as they left.
“I wanted to get some sort of a description of them to give to the police, but what I didn’t realise was that there was another fella (raider) behind me. I just saw him all of a sudden take aim out of the corner of my, so I dived into some tables beside me,” he said.
Locals recall hearing two gunshots, one of which injured Mr Gibson and left him writhing in agony on the restaurant floor.
“It was strange as I had three bullet holes in my t-shirt and one in the back. I just got up and ran after them and it was only when I lost them going over a fence that I said to myself I had better head back (to the restaurant) and get an ambulance,” he added.
Mr Gibson spent the night in hospital and has undergone extensive medical treatment in recent days.
Such was the extent of his injuries, shrapnel ripped from his belt by the bullet is still lodged in his abdomen.
The son of Leonie and Tony Gibson, the property maintenance entrepreneur also paid tribute to his courageous wife, Danielle, who was left traumatised by the ordeal.
“She kept telling me to keep my head down. Thankfully, we are fine and I still consider myself good enough to go and tog out for Longford Slashers,” he laughed, when making reference to his playing days with the current senior county championship holders.
Despite no arrests having been made, Mr Gibson was refreshingly good humoured when asked whether he would be making a return visit to Brazil any time soon.
Chuckling quietly to himself, he joked: “I think I have the best excuse ever not to visit my mother-in-law now.”