family patriarch gunned down at Melbourne home where son was also shot dead
- Stuart Rintoul
- From: The Australian
- August 13, 2010 1:56PM
Tactical response police sweep the Melbourne house where Macchour Chaouk was shot dead. Picture: Stuart McEvoy Source: The Australian
THE head of an alleged Melbourne crime family, Macchour Chaouk, has been shot dead in what may be the escalation of a bloody feud with a rival clan.
Police said the body of a 65-year-old man was found at the Chaouk family home at Brooklyn in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
The house was raided by police last month following violence linked to a feud between the rival Chaouk and Haddara families.
Ambulance Victoria received a call to the fortress-like house on Geelong Road at 10.54am (AEST) and found a man at the scene performing CPR on the victim.
When it was safe for paramedics to approach the house, they confirmed the man was dead at the scene, and heavily armed police sealed off the area.
Men who gathered outside the house swore at the media, and police moved in to defuse the situation.
The house was also the scene of the 2005 fatal shooting by police of Macchour Chaouk’s son, Mohamed Chaouk.
Macchour Chaouk and his sons Omar and Waleed were arrested during last month’s raid, which allegedly uncovered guns, ammunition and blank passports.
Mr Chaouk and Waleed were released without charge but Omar, 18, was charged with weapons, drugs and fraud offences.
Omar Chaouk was initially refused bail on multiple firearms and fraud charges, with a magistrate worried about releasing him because of an “ongoing war” with the rival Haddara family. He was later bailed on the grounds he did not visit the family home.
Omar Chaouk’s lawyer Alan Swanwick had earlier argued his client should be released because he was needed to help protect his family.
Another brother, Ali Chaouk, was last month refused bail over a bashing which left a German tourist with a fractured skull.
Victorian Supreme Court Justice Betty King said she had serious concerns about bailing Chaouk, 30, saying “His family connections don’t assist him at all.”
In denying bail, Justice King told the court the “war” with the Haddara family was continuing and noted “shots have been fired on both sides”.
She said if Ali was released on bail, the war could escalate.
The violent demise of the head of the Chaouk family follows a series of shootings which led police to establish the Santiago taskforce.
In June this year, 18-year-old Sam Hadddara was shot in the face by a drive-by gunman at nearby Altona North.
In June last year, Mohammed Haddara was shot dead, leaving a heavily pregnant widow behind. Family members swore to avenge his death.
After last month’s raid at Brooklin, Superintendent Doug Fryer said that despite the violence between the rival groups, police believed they were controlling the situation.
“We would like to send a clear message to any of those involved in this sort of activity that certainly any sort of shooting is absolutely unacceptable and we have the resources and the capacity to make a difference and solve those crimes,” he said at the time.
Mohamed Chaouk was shot in the chest and abdomen by a Victoria Police Special Operations Group officer in 2005 after he allegedly struck the officer’s wrist with a blunt samurai sword.
UPDATE 3.54pm: POLICE officers will remain in the vicinity of the Chaouk home overnight after the shooting death of family patriarch Macchour. A number of police officers, including forensics and homicide squad detectives, remain at the scene on the corner of Cypress Ave and Geelong Rd in Brooklyn.
Investigators say they believe the shooting was not a random incident, with the killer still at large.
Mr Chaouk, 65, died after being shot in the backyard of his house this morning.
Several people tried to resuscitate him before paramedics arrived after 11am, but he died at the scene.
At about 12.45pm, up to 12 heavily armed Special Operations Group officers stormed the Chaouk home.
A heavily fortified police vehicle stopped at the front of the property moments before the SOG team stormed the house, yelling as they entered through the front door.
Family and friends of the Chaouks have gathered outside the house throughout the day, with some hurling abuse at the waiting media.
Three children, aged 1, 3 and 5, who were inside the house when the shooting occurred, have been taken to a different location.
A group of young men including Macchour’s son Omar, 19, stood outside the house in the aftermath of the shooting as police, including force response units and Santiago detectives, scoured the scene.
At one stage, Omar walked up Geelong Rd to greet a friend who exclaimed: “Who the f— shot him?”.
The area has yet to be declared safe and the public has been urged to stay away.
Ambulance Victoria received a call to the house at 10.54am and found a man at the scene performing CPR on the victim.
When it was safe for paramedics to approach the house, they confirmed the man was dead at the scene.
Witnesses in the area said they heard a volley of shots, described as “rapid fire”.
Macchour and his two sons, Walid, 36, and Omar, were arrested at the same house during a series of police raids in July, in which police seized guns, ammunition and blank passports.
The home was also the scene of the shooting death of Mohamed Chaouk, 31, who was killed by police during a dawn raid in 2005.
The Chaouk family has allegedly been embroiled in a feud with a rival Lebanese family from Melbourne’s north, the Haddaras.
Their home was raided after a drive-by shooting in June in nearby Altona, in which Sam Haddara, 18, was shot in the face while sitting in a car.
Sam is a cousin of Mohamed Haddara, who was killed a year earlier in a drive-by shooting, and there have been a series of alleged tit-for-tat violent incidents between the families.
Police are urging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au