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Hells Angel arrest over St Clair shooting

02-Jun-2017

TENSIONS between the Hells Angels and Mongols outlaw motorcycle gangs have “subsided” as police arrest a man over a bikie shooting in Adelaide’s west in February.

Crime Gangs Task Force detectives arrested a 26-year old alleged Hells Angels associate early Friday morning at his Ferryden Park home, over the incident at St Clair which led to an alleged Mongols member being shot in the leg. Police allege two men forced their way into a residence on St Clair Ave, St Clair, about 8am on February 19 and had an altercation with the resident, who was not seriously injured.

They have released CCTV footage taken shortly before the incident, showing two men walking to the victim’s address after getting out of a burgundy 2007 VE Commodore, with distinctive chrome wheels and black primer paint on the front spoiler.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Fitzgerald said the vision showed the arrested man — whose face is pixelated — and the other suspect, who he said was “180cm, aged in his 30s and of European or Middle Eastern appearance”. Detectives outside the house where the shots were fired in St Clair Ave, St Clair.

The man, 26, of Ferryden Park, faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Friday charged with aggravated robbery and an aggravated count of endangering life. Karen Ingleton, prosecuting, said his arrest had been trigged by the discovery of a 9mm Glock handgun that matched the bullets fired during the incident. She conceded the case linking the man to that gun, and the shooting, was “circumstantial” as the weapon was found in his brother’s car. Ms Ingleton said the man and his yet-to-be-found co-accused “pushed their way into” the St Clair address while wearing black jumpers, black pants and black masks. She said they demanded the occupant of the house hand over his jewellery and watch, then took him into the backyard, before going upstairs and shooting a second man.

Stacey Carter, for the man, asked the court to disregard all witness statements in the case, claiming one of the house’s occupants was on home detention bail for “serious offences”. The person who was shot, she said, had refused to give a statement to police — one of “several significant problems” with the evidence presented in the case so far. “He’s come before this court based purely on circumstances,” she said.

Magistrate Paul Foley said he was not in a position to judge the strength of the case but, given the seriousness of the allegations, refused to grant the man bail. He also suppressed the names of the man and the house’s occupant, but refused Ms Carter’s bid to block publication of CCTV footage released, to the media, by SA Police.

Outside court, Insp Fitzgerald would not reveal what was allegedly stolen, other than to describe them as “personal items” and said nobody including the alleged victim was co-operating with the investigation. He said the adherence to the traditional criminal code of silence meant police needed public help to solve gang violence.

“Gang violence is unacceptable, it’s all about profit and power, drugs and criminal reputation and today we’re asking for help from the public to be able to hold those people to account for the violence they bring to our community,” he said. The St Clair shooting happened as part of an alleged feud between the Hells Angels and Mongols, during which a man was shot through the front door of his Gilles Plains home, several homes and tattoo studios were firebombed.

In March, police said they had placed gang members and associates under increased surveillance, and Insp Fitzgerald said the violence had reduced in recent months.“We believe that the tensions have subsided in the short term, and we have been able to suppress any further violence, however there is always that potential when you have gangs in the community,” Insp Fitzgerald said. “I think it’s a combination of a number of reasons, there is certainly some level of moderation between the gangs, but there is also input from law enforcement.” Insp Fitzgerald said police would allege the man arrested over the St Clair shooting had used a handgun in the “targeted incident”, but would not confirm whether the second suspect also had a weapon.

The CCTV vision released by police shows two men walking calmly into the St Clair Ave home, however they did not release vision of the men running from the scene shortly after. “They are extremely lucky that there were no other people in the house, that house is in a residential area and they’re letting off gunshots ... with no regard as to where they would potentially end up,” Insp Fitzgerald said.

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