Vincent Morello April 18, 2012
Five shootings in five hours have narrowly missed children and elderly residents and taken western Sydney's soaring gun violence to a new level.
Police have called for calm and the federal government has suggested national initiatives to curb the latest shooting spree, which started in January and has worsened this month. A turf war between rival bikie gangs the Hells Angels and the Nomads is believed to be behind four of the shootings that began at about midnight yesterday.
A house at Merrylands, another at Granville and two tattoo parlours at Merrylands and Baulkham Hills were linked to the Hells Angels.
Three elderly people - two of whom are believed to be the parents of a Hells Angels' member - were home when at least four bullets slammed into the front wall of the house in Harris Street, Merrylands.
Police believe a shooting at Pemulwuy on Monday was targeted at the Nomads, which sparked yesterday's counterattack.
The fifth shooting occurred when someone shot up a Northmead home where two adults and five children were asleep. Bullets smashed through bedroom windows on the top storey of the two-level home, in an incident police believe was linked to a business dispute and separate from the bikie shootings.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said using guns in any disagreement was not the answer.
''It concerns that me that people would resort to weapons to settle any sort of dispute particularly when we're talking about a family home,'' Mr O'Farrell said yesterday.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the shootings, which bring April's tally in western Sydney to 19, were no cause for panic. ''There is not a serious concern that should be sweeping this state that everyone is under threat,'' he said.
Police yesterday launched Strike Force Kinnarra to target the bikie conflict with 100 extra officers on the streets and 18 detectives from State Crime Command. The heightened response accompanies several other operations including Strike Force Spartan that kicked off in January.
Mr Scipione said that no amount of resources can stop shootings by offenders who plan their attacks to avoid police.
Federal Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said yesterday Customs agents should be embedded into the NSW Police Force to assist with a new firearms intelligence unit that was needed to collect state and federal intelligence on the illegal gun trade.
The 15 different databases that hold firearm information in Australia should be brought together under the new body, he said.AAP