Gardai are still trying to establish a motive for why Philip 'Philly' O'Toole was shot at around 12.45am on Thursday in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.
He was taken to St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin after the incident where his condition is described as stable.
Sources say that O' Toole (31) is refusing to co-operate with gardai.
"He said he would rather die on the side of the road than help gardai with their enquiries," said a source.
O'Toole, from Fassaroe in Bray, Co Wicklow, is understood to have wrestled with the gunman before being shot in the stomach.
The Herald can reveal that O' Toole -- who has multiple previous convictions -- is a major crime figure in Bray, Co Wicklow with strong connections to a local drugs gang. Local sources say he had just returned to Bray in recent months, having spent some time in England. He has received warnings in the past that his life was under threat.
O' Toole was arrested by gardai investigating the shooting of Finglas criminal Glen McGrath (41) outside the Cappagh House pub in Finglas last December.
McGrath -- a former associate of slain gangland boss Paul 'Farmer' Martin -- survived but was left in a critical condition after being shot three times the chest and stomach.
The pub shooting is linked to a bitter prison row between gangsters from Finglas and Bray. O'Toole was one of eight people arrested. All were later released without charge.
Senior sources have rubbished claims that a group called the Criminal Action Force were involved in the shooting.
"Mr O' Toole has many enemies -- and every avenue is being explored. But no one has any knowledge of any Criminal Action Force," said a source.
O' Toole has numerous previous convictions and in March, 2008, he received a four-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a sawn off shotgun in Santry, north Dublin, in April 2007.
O'Toole told gardai that he had been holding the gun for another person but was on his way to dispose of it.
His barrister told Dublin Circuit Court that he was acting under the direction of another person whom he feared.
The barrister added that O'Toole was struggling with cocaine and alcohol abuse.