Queensland police investigating the murder of Gold Coast man Omega Ruston 12 years ago have travelled to Sydney to search for a firearm in the Parramatta River.
It follows revelations the gun used in Mr Ruston’s killing has been linked to the drive-by shooting of a Sydney tattoo parlour in 2008.
The 32-year-old was shot dead at Burleigh Heads on Australia Day in 2009 in a suspected road rage incident that police believe could be linked to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Police said the father of two was standing next to his car on the side of the Gold Coast Highway when a passenger in a maroon sedan shot him twice.
A review into the unsolved murder was launched last year by the Homicide Cold Case Investigation Team and Gold Coast Criminal Investigation Branch and on Monday Mr Ruston’s family made a fresh appeal for public information.
Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said Thursday’s search for a firearm near the Parramatta River Ferry Terminal follows “specific information” received during the renewed investigation.
“Queensland detectives, with the assistance of the NSW Police Force Unsolved Homicide Unit and NSW Water Police and police divers have conducted a search of the Parramatta River Ferry Terminus,” Detective Inspector Ahearn said.
“A number of items have been found, I can’t comment on what those are, they are going to be subject of some analysis.
“The review of this investigation has seen significant forensic developments in areas such as DNA, fingerprints, ballistics and telecommunications.”
‘Identical ballistic match’
Authorities said the murder is linked to chapters of organised crime syndicates and outlaw motorcycle gangs based in Sydney and the Gold Coast.
Police said the firearm used in Mr Ruston’s killing has been linked to a drive-by shooting in Belmore, in Sydney’s west, in 2008.
“Police can now confirm that the firearm used in the shooting murder of Mr Ruston on the Gold Coast is an identical ballistic match to a firearm used in the West Sydney Ink Tattoo Parlour drive-by shooting,” Detective Inspector Ahearn said.
“In 2008, New South Wales police collected unique ballistic evidence from a drive-by shooting at Belmore.
“It can also be shown that this firearm used in the 2008 drive-by shooting can be linked to known persons of interest in the murder of Mr Ruston.
“This is a significant development in the case and has confirmed links between Mr Ruston’s murder and Sydney based outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised crime syndicates.”
Detectives are appealing for former associates or family members of those involved to come forward.
They said relationships and loyalties in gangs can change and they’re confident the offenders will be found.
‘This murder can be solved’
“We believe persons with this information reside on the Gold Coast and Sydney,” Detective Inspector Ahearn said.
“We believe these persons may have information about the possession or disposal of this weapon.
“It is never too late to come forward. This may be their chance of redemption.
“We do believe that with public assistance, irrespective of the passage of time, that this murder can be solved, that the offenders can be brought to justice.”
On Monday Mr Ruston’s brothers, Nicholas and Christian, and his father Phil, thanked the Queensland police and the public for their efforts saying they were still grieving the loss of their brother and son.
“If you’re remaining silent due to some sense of [allegiance] or loyalty, please know the man that you’re protecting is a coward,” Nicholas Ruston said.
“You may have been scared or held some misplaced sense of hatred in your heart but you now need to make amends.
“Your actions have taken the life of an innocent man. My brother will not grow old, but you will grow old forever as a coward.”