By Patrick Markey
A year after a gunman fatally shot Irish immigrant Martin McConigley on a desolate Philadelphia street, homicide detectives have yet to make any arrests or name their suspects in the brutal murder.
McConigley, a well-known face in the local Irish community, was gunned down last October as he chased two robbers trying to hold up his business partner at the construction yard where the two men worked.
The father of one was shot multiple times in the head and torso through the windshield of his car as he followed the two assailants.
McConigley, a Donegal native from Fanad, had been set to meet with his partner, Sean Clinton, at their West Philadelphia business when Clinton was jumped by the two robbers.
The armed thieves locked Clinton in the garage and tried to make off with a briefcase holding the company payroll, police said. McConigley arrived moments later and gave chase.
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The year-old case has now been passed on to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Cold Case Squad, which deals with outstanding crimes that have stumped the initial detective team.
The squad’s Sgt. Charles McMullin said detectives are re-interviewing witnesses and have developed several new sources of information. But, he said, it is still too early to call anyone a suspect in the investigation.
Detectives hope to question a number of former residents who lived in a building, which McConigley owned. They also hope to question some of the Irishman’s former employees, McMullin said.
McMullin said several of those sought for questioning may have left the Philadelphia area and investigators have contacted police departments in other cities. Detectives have already contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service to determine whether anyone they suspect may have been involved in or have knowledge of the shooting has left the country, another investigator said.
The crime shocked Philadelphia’s close-knit Irish community and the seeming lack of immediate progress has frustrated those who knew McConigley.
A $20,000 reward set up by the Irish community had so far drawn no leads, although the Philadelphia Immigration Resource Center receives daily calls inquiring about the case, said Tom Conaghan, the center’s director.
"People are starting to feel a certain amount of despair in the community, that these murderers will never be caught," Conaghan said. "There’s a feeling that you can get killed here in Philadelphia and they can get away with it."