The nephew of slain underworld figure Mahmoud “Brownie” Ahmad has been shot dead in the Sydney suburb of Belmore – a murder that suggests there is no end in sight to an escalating gangland war.
It was the third fatal shooting in recent weeks in what police have dubbed a spate of “tit for tat” incidents in the city’s southwest, starting with the murder of Mr Ahmad in late April.
Police arrived in Knox Street, Belmore, on Saturday to find the man, 23, with gunshot wounds to his torso .
Paramedics treated the man but he died at the scene. His pregnant wife was hospitalised in distress soon after the shooting.
Vehicles were found on fire a short time after the shooting in the nearby suburbs of Croydon Park and Bexley North.
Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett said the victim was part of a “cabal” with Mr Ahmad.
Criminal gangs settling scores
“We are in a spate of tit-for-tat shootings around organised criminals in southwest Sydney,” he said.
“We’ve clearly got a war of sorts in southwestern Sydney around drug supply and organised crime.
“That crosses over with inter-family relationships. You know how violent these people are.”
It comes only days after two Comanchero bikies were gunned down at a western Sydney gym.
Omar Zahed, 39, was killed and his brother, Comanchero bikie boss Tarek Zahed, 41, was critically wounded at the Body Fit gym in Auburn on Tuesday night.
Mr Ahmad, 39, was publicly executed in Greenacre in April on a Wednesday night after gunmen lay in wait for him.
Police have linked the shootings and have established Strike Force Bati to investigate.
Det Bennett said unlike the previous victims, Mr Ahmad’s nephew had not been warned by police he was a target with no known bounty on his head.
“But he’s certainly known to us,” he said.
11 slayings in two years
Knox Street remains closed to traffic with police swarming the house where the shooting occurred early on Saturday morning, with a shattered front window visible.
Earlier this month police expressed concern about the 11 gangland murders in southwest Sydney in the last two years with Det Bennett saying on Saturday one was too many.
“It’s unacceptable in modern society … it’s a byproduct of organised crime and part of a subculture we have in southwestern Sydney,” he said.
Labor police spokesperson Walt Secord accused the government of losing control of the streets with the 13th recorded gang-related homicide this year.
“It seems the Perrottet Government is surrendering the streets of Western Sydney to criminal gangs”.
Mr Secord said it was a matter of time before another innocent bystander gets shot or killed in the escalating crime gang violence.
He called for more resources to be dedicated to the police.
NSW has the fewest number of police officers in Australia, 244 per 100,000 residents, according to the budget estimates from last week.
The top 20 areas with the highest percentage of urgent calls not attended are all in the Sydney region, the majority in the city’s west.
“Western Sydney residents do not feel safe walking their streets knowing that vicious gang violence could strike anywhere, anytime,” Mr Secord said.