Police at a house in East Bentleigh where a man was shot on October 30. Photo: Joe ArmaoMan fighting for his life after shooting in city’s west
A person has been injured or killed by gunfire on average every nine days in Victoria so far this year.
Almost one in three shootings resulting in death and injury over the past 10 months were concentrated in a small pocket in Melbourne’s outer north, a Fairfax analysis found.
October has been the worst month for gun violence this year, with 11 incidents, including the ambush of a man who was gunned down in Bentleigh East on Friday morning and a man shot after a fight in the city’s west late on Friday night.
At least half of the eight fatal shootings this year were drug-related, the victims suspected or convicted traffickers, or associated with some of Melbourne’s most notorious criminal networks.
The month’s violence came to a head this week, as police guarded the Bentleigh East victim in hospital and a man slain in a drive-by attack on Tuesday was mourned by his family.
Rachad Adra, 54, was killed in a drive-by attack on his Thomastown home, and his family continued the traditional Muslim three-day mourning period of Azza on Friday.
The father of three had been sleeping with his youngest son, four-year-old Kareem, when at least six shots ripped through two rooms of their brick home, fatally wounding him and leaving the boy in a serious condition.
Police are investigating whether his older sons, who work in the family’s heating and cooling business, were the intended targets of the shooting.
The deadly shooting occurred in a triangle about 20 kilometres north of the city, which has Roxburgh Park at its northern point, Broadmeadows to the west and Thomastown to the east, and has been plagued by gun violence this year.
The triangle is part of the so-called Red Zone in Melbourne’s north-west, which Fairfax revealed this year had recorded unprecedented levels of firearm seizures.
The latest shooting, the 38th this year resulting in death or injury, was in a far quieter area for gun crime – Melbourne’s south-east.
A 21-year-old was shot in the chest during an ambush by three men who followed him home early on Friday. Paramedics were called to the South Road, Bentleigh East house about 6.30am.
Inspector Bernie Edwards said police believed three men in a light-coloured sedan followed the young man to his family’s home, before one got out of the car and opened fire.
The man’s family was “understandably distressed”, while neighbours were concerned by the incident, Inspector Edwards said.
“But there’s no reason for [neighbours] to be concerned at this stage,” he said.
One of them, Selena Fang, said her parents-in-law heard up to six gunshots and then silence.
Ms Fang said she hoped the attack had not been random. “I’ve got a two-month-old baby, it’s very scary,” she said.
The Andrews government moved this week to speed up proposed changes to firearm trafficking laws, amid fears the state was awash with guns that were easily traded and increasingly being used by low-level criminals for protection.
But Crime Statistics Agency figures show that the rate of crimes against the person involving firearms has been relatively steady since 2011.
In the year to June, 2015, handguns were the gun most used by offenders, and were used more than twice as often as shotguns, the next most popular firearm.
The rate of stolen firearms is also steady, but rural properties and gun shops are still considered vulnerable by police; a sports store was burgled in Seymour on Monday, with several firearms stolen. The store owner declined to comment.
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