Police have raided properties across Perth following a possible sniper attack that killed former Rebels president Nick Martin, amid fears the shooting could lead to an all-out bikie war.
The 51-year-old was shot in the chest during the Outlaw Nitro Challenge drag racing event at the Kwinana Motorplex about 8.40pm on Saturday in front of many innocent bystanders, including young families.
A five-year-old boy, who was reportedly sitting on the lap of Martin’s wife Amanda but is not related to them, was grazed. He did not need to go to hospital.
Fellow Rebels bikie member Ricky Chapman, 31, – who is the partner of Martin’s stepdaughter Stacey Schoppe – was also wounded and will have surgery later on Monday.
There is a nationwide hunt for the gunman and police have not ruled out the possibility the shooter flew into Perth to commit the crime.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told 6PR radio on Monday that Martin did not have “good standing” with the Rebels before his death and had been “under some pressure”.
Asked about reports the shooting was by a sniper, Mr Dawson said: “We won’t be disclosing all of the particulars that we’re uncovering.”
State Crime unit assistant commissioner Brad Royce was later asked by reporters whether it was a difficult investigation because it was a “professional” shooting.
“I don’t think murdering someone in among women and children is professional as much as probably someone who really doesn’t have any regard for the community,” he said.
After he was further pressed on the distance of the shooting, he added: “Anyone can take a long shot if they’re not worried about collateral damage, so only a murderer is not going to worry about families sitting right around the area.”
Asked if police had no solid leads because Martin had many enemies, the senior officer said it was early in the investigation and would take some time.
Nick Martin (pictured with his wife Amanda) was killed in a public shooting on Saturday night.Source:Supplied
Raids have been conducted at the Mongols and Hells Angels clubhouses, and at a Shoalwater home linked to an alleged bikie associate.
A 33-year-old Mongols member was charged with possessing cocaine with intent to sell/supply and a 30-year-old man was charged with breaching a post-sentence supervision order.
Weapons and prescription medications were allegedly found during a search of the Hells Angels clubhouse.
A 71-year-old Mongols associate has been charged with several offences after cannabis plants, a shotgun, four rifles, two firearm silencers and ammunition were allegedly found at the Shoalwater property.
Mr Royce said police were “taking the fight back to the gangs” following Martin’s death.
“While it’s a homicide and a singular incident, we’re taking it as a far bigger picture event,” he said.
“All gangs, whether they’re involved in this or not, are going to be seeing a lot more attention from WA police and our partners.
“We will be coming with force … if the one per cent want to come out into our community and commit acts of violence where we go with our families then we’ll go into their community.”
About 100 officers are so far involved in Operation Ravello, including the homicide and gang crime squads, and Australian Federal Police.
Martin’s stepdaughter Stacey Schoppe tried to revive him.Source:Supplied
In a tribute to Martin on social media, former Rebels national president Alex Vella shared his outrage at the attack.
“To be taken so cowardly in front of his wife, children and grandchildren is absolutely abhorrent,” Mr Vella wrote.
“Nick will always be remembered for being straight up forward not backward member of our great club.”
Ms Martin paid tribute to her slain husband by posting a photo of him as her profile picture, while Ms Schoppe described her grief at trying to revive her stepfather.
“I tried, we tried so hard to keep you alive, dad,” Ms Schoppe posted to social media.
‘This is one of the most heartbreaking, traumatic experiences I’ve ever witnessed. To my mother, be strong, we will get through this. I’m sending love to his immediate family and friends.”
Martin’s daughter Tia, who recently gave birth to his first grandchild, posted a photo on Facebook with the caption: “I love you forever and always.”
One friend commented on the post: “Cherish your memories and he will always live on in your heart. I know how much you meant to each other.”
Another wrote: “His love and adoration for you shone so brightly. He was so proud of you, love.”
Sam Hijazi thanked everyone who “called, texted and sent personal pm’s out regarding our son Eli”, who was grazed during the incident.
“Our thoughts are with Amanda Martin, Stacey Schoppe and family during this tragic time,” he said.
Former Rebels WA president Nick Martin was facing charges for financial matters.Source:News Corp Australia
Mr Dawson warned officers were at “a state of heightened readiness” for retaliatory attacks.
“We must all be outraged by this violent criminal behaviour … This is not the Western Australia that we want to live in,” he said on Sunday.
Martin reportedly stood down from the top job of the WA Rebels a few months ago and Mr Dawson said Martin had “lost his status” within the bikie gang.
“We know there’s friction and bad terms certainly within the Rebels motorcycle outlaw gang themselves,” he said.
“I’ve got little doubt that there’s a lot of friction among gangs because of heightened police activity, and we have seized lots of drugs, money and firearms.”
However, there has been some confusion about Martin’s role with the Rebels after his daughter claimed the Commissioner was wrong.
“It was our impression Nick Martin was no longer the president of the Rebels, but accept that could change daily,” Mr Royce said.
Nick Martin had only recently become a grandfather. Picture: Theo FakosSource:News Limited
Martin and his wife were due to face court this week, charged with demanding property by oral threats.
He had also pleaded not guilty to two counts of obtaining financial advantage from person/commonwealth by deception and was due back in court for those offences in February.
Martin’s death comes just two weeks after he was bashed at a Scarborough bar, allegedly by Hells Angel boss Dayne Brajkovich.
CCTV showed the pair greeting each other with an amicable handshake before a violent clash broke out.
Martin was allegedly hit to the ground before getting to his feet.
Brajkovich, a former Muay Thai boxer, was charged by the national anti-gangs squad for “fighting in public causing fear”.
NCA NewsWire is not suggesting Brajkovich played any part in Saturday night’s shooting.
In 2011, Martin survived a shooting in his driveway, which happened during a violent feud with the Rock Machine gang.