“Despite extensive searches by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, a 48-year-old, who is wanted by virtue of an arrest warrant, has not been found,’’ police said today.
A senior officer has told the Daily Telegraph that while Elmer could be hiding from police there is a possibility he has been killed.
Police said he may also be hiding for fear he may be targeted by associates of Walid Ahmad.
- Shooting was ‘clearly targeted’
- Victim’s niece received panicked call saying ‘he’s dead’
- Shooters still at large
- Victim was a known standover man
MOMENTS before shots rang out at a Bankstown shopping centre this morning, a man rushed into a shop inside screaming, “There’s not enough f***ing time”.
Standover man and convicted killer Walid “Wally” Ahmad was shot dead and two others were injured at the centre when an unknown person opened fire inside Bankstown Central, in Sydney’s southwest, just before noon.
Police are now hunting two people over the attack, a man who opened fire and another who drove a getaway car.
A 32-year-old woman, believed to be friends with Ahmad, is recovering in hospital alongside Ahmad’s bodyguard, a 53-year-old man.
A woman working in a cosmetics store inside the centre told news.com.au that a man and a woman rushed into the shop moments before the shooting.
“Where’s store security? Where’s store security? Can you call them?” the distressed woman said.
She banged her hand on the counter, saying “call them, call them!”
But the man said: “There’s not enough f***ing time.”
The pair then ran towards an escalator, which leads to the third-level gym, cafe and carpark, where the shooting occurred.
It is not known who the people were or if they were hurt in the shooting.
‘IT’S CLEARLY TARGETED’
Bankstown police commander Detective Superintendent David Eardley confirmed a 40-year-old man is dead and two others were injured in the shooting.
Police believe the gunman did not act alone and a burnt-out white Mercedes connected to the crime has been found in Greenacre.
While police have not confirmed the identity of the victim, he said police would also be looking at the connection with another shooting at Condell Park earlier this month.
“It’s clearly targeted; this is not a random shooting,” Det Supt Eardley said.
“People need to understand and feel safe to go about the streets and their daily lives.”
He also urged those connected to the crime not to take matters into their own hands.
“Leave it to us to investigate … there is no need to resort to any activity that would jeopardise themselves or others.”
‘COME GET ME! HE’S DEAD!’
The niece of the victim Walid “Wally” Ahmad told news.com.au: “It’s my uncle. He’s the victim.”
The woman was at a family gathering at a home nearby when she received a phone call that her uncle had been shot.
She said she received a panicked call from Ahmad’s daughter, her cousin, as she raced to the Bankstown Central shopping centre.
“She said, ‘Come get me! He’s dead! He’s dead!’” the shocked niece told news.com.au
“I need to get to her. She’s all by herself, she’s alone.”
When asked who may have targeted Ahmad, the niece said: “I don’t know. The most important thing is finding my cousin.”
Later, news.com.au witnessed the niece and the daughter hug as they were reunited.
The shopping centre’s management ushered family members to a nearby coffee house, where more than a dozen police officers were gathered.
An elderly woman, believed to be the mother of the victim, was seen slumped in a wheelchair, quivering, with her hands covering her face.
The family were agitated as they left the area, demanding that no pictures be taken.
Today’s shooting took place at a major shopping centre, formerly known as Bankstown Centro, on the corner of Stacey St and Rickard Rd, in Sydney’s southwest.
Witnesses told news.com.au that the shooting happened in the centre carpark outside Michael’s Coffee House, near Crunch Fitness gym and Rebel Sports store.
People who parked close to the scene have been told by police they could not move their cars, and some have resorted to taking the bus home.
Early reports said a man aged about 40 went into cardiac arrest. The body is believed to still be at the scene.
It is understood two people have been detained at the scene, including an unidentified, handcuffed man pictured. Police told news.com.au that nobody had been formally arrested.
A Bankstown resident working at the shopping centre, who asked not to be named, told AAP that “police arrested the wrong people to start with”.
He said a Mercedes was stopped and searched by police on the corner of Jacobs St and Rickard Rd, but police failed to find a weapon.
“It happened in front of us,” he said. “They handcuffed the wrong person.” He said police found the right car, a black four-wheel drive, at the rooftop car park near the gym.
Police have warned drivers to avoid the area around the centre because of traffic delays.
“There were a couple of screams and you just wondered if they were kids or something,” Mr Davis said.
“It was surreal really.
“I suppose I’m feeling really fortunate that I wasn’t there (at the tome of the escalator).”
The victim is a known standover man with a previous manslaughter conviction.
It is believed Ahmad is connected to a fatal shooting at smash repair business, A Team Smash Repair, where one man, Safwan Chabaji , was shot dead in April in Condell Park.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that he has been on the run since the fatal shooting.
Officers were called to the shopping centre about 11.50am after reports of a shooting. There were unconfirmed reports of eight shots being fired in the carpark.
A witness having coffee outside a nearby cafe said she heard the commotion and everybody got up and started walking away.
A Channel 7 video shows one of the victims being asked whether he was OK as he was being wheeled away on a stretcher.
When asked what happened, the victim said: “Firework”.
The previous shooting at the smash repair business left one man, Safwan Charbaji, 32, dead with gunshot wound to the chest. Another, Abdullah El Masri, 35, was left in a critical condition after being shot in the face. He remains in an induced coma.
The shooting happened on the afternoon of April 9 in Condell Park, a suburb of Bankstown.
Witnesses reported hearing an argument before a number of shots were fired.
At the time, authorities said the men were known to police.
“We believe that the people did know each other,” a police spokesman told media on Saturday, adding that it was unclear whether the men were shot by a third party.
“It’s quite possible that a meeting has taken place.”
A local shop worker told news.com.au Ahmad was one of her “favourite customers.”
“When I had first met Walid he had recently been out of jail,” she said.
“But he was always a sweet man, had brought in his little girl and his wife a few times.
“Could never say no to the lollies she’d want to buy.
“Anyway I understand people are different, but I only had an employee-customer relationship with him.
“I’m sure his wife is very heartbroken though.”
At least six ambulances and a dozen police cars were at the scene and television footage showed paramedics putting a man on a stretcher.
Police said they arrived to find two men and a woman injured; one of the men died at the scene.
A crime scene has been established, which will be examined by detectives and forensic specialists.
The shopping centre car park has been closed as a precaution.
Anyone with information that could assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Man shot dead outside Sydney shopping centre
A gunman is at large after a “targeted” shooting in Sydney’s south-west that has left one man dead and two other people injured.
- A 40-year-old man is dead after shooting at Bankstown Central Shopping Centre
- A man and a woman who were injured have been taken to hospital
- Police say the shooting was targeted and the gunman did not act alone
Emergency crews were called to the car park of Bankstown Central Shopping Centre on Rickard Road just before midday.
On arrival police found three injured people – two men and a woman. A 40-year-old man died of his injuries at the scene.
A 60-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman were treated by paramedics for wounds to their lower legs before being taken to hospital.
Detective Superintendent David Eardley said the shooting was targeted.
“This isn’t a random shooting, it was clearly targeted to the man who has died of gunshot wounds,” he said.
“I can assure the Bankstown and neighbouring communities not to be concerned about this incident.
“You will see a large number of police resources around the Bankstown area. That’s purely a proactive stance by us to again provide some reassurance to the community that it is safe.”
Detective Superintendent Eardley said he was unaware of any arrests so far, but there was evidence the gunman did not act alone.
“We had information of a white Mercedes vehicle being used and I can confirm that vehicle has been located burned-out in the Greenacre area,” he said.
He urged anyone associated with the incident not to take matters into their own hands.
“Leave it to us to investigate and leave it to us to identify the people involved. We will put them before the courts, they will be dealt with under our law,” he said.
“There is no need to revert to any type of action that will jeopardise their family and the public.”
Detective Superintendent Eardley said the incident could be connected with a fatal shooting at nearby Condell Park earlier in April.
“We’re certainly not ruling out any links. We’re looking at all opportunities and all avenues of investigation. Certainly there has been a shooting in this area, in the Condell Park area,” he said.
“That is subject to Strike Force Admiralty. Those detectives will be reviewing the incident today and see if they can identify any linkages.”
The shopping centre car park has been closed as a precaution and drivers have been asked to avoid the area.
Fatema Islam was in the shopping centre car park when the shooting happened.
She said she initially thought the gunshot sounds may have been someone dropping something at the nearby gym.
“I looked back and there was nothing, and then suddenly one lady came running and crying and saying ‘oh there’s a gunshot, there’s a gunshot’. And I just freaked out,” she said.
“I looked back, but there was nothing, no car was there, no person or nothing.
“I didn’t see any dead body or nothing. When I went inside [the shopping centre], at that time, all the police and everyone came.”
Bankstown resident Bessy Axiotis said she did not feel safe shopping at the centre.
“[It’s] very sad, because there’s children around, there’s families. It’s a very busy time,” she said.
“I came up and at that time that’s when everyone was screaming and running around. I didn’t actually see what happened, but it was just chaotic.
“Everyone was running, everyone just ran back in and then the police came.
“I shop here all the time, but now you think ‘OK, I’ve got to shop somewhere else now, because Bankstown isn’t safe’. It’s very upsetting.”