ACT News


Isabella Plains shooting the third Canberra bikie shooting in two weeks

The ACT opposition has called Canberra an "oasis" for outlaw motorcycle gangs after a bikie-related shooting in Isabella Plains on Tuesday, the third in Canberra in less than two weeks.

Police responded to reports of gunshots and a fire at the Ellerston Avenue home, located next to the Little Smiles Early Childhood Centre, at about 1am on Tuesday.

Police have told the Canberra Times the two previous shootings were part of a feud between the Comanchero and Nomad motorcycle gangs.

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According to police and various sources, the shooters parked down the road from the house in a small silver hatchback.


Two people stepped out of the car, walked up to the property and shot at a front bedroom from the front lawn at the bikie sleeping inside.

Neighbours woke to pistol and shotgun fire as the shooters tried to use a gas cylinder to set the house ablaze. Fire could be seen at the property before the shooters fled.

ACT fire services were called to the scene and extinguished the fire, with AFP forensics later seen on Tuesday morning inspecting the charred gas cylinder.

Damage consistent with gunfire and fire could be seen along the bedroom window's panelling. Police were at the same property in March when shots were fired and a car was set alight.

ACT Policing detective superintendent Ben Cartwright said more needed to be done to address OMCGs in the ACT.

"Events such as those seen over the last month highlight the need for new and different approaches," Mr Cartwright said.

"ACT Policing will continue discussions with the ACT government regarding legislative reform."

ACT shadow police minister Jeremy Hanson called for anti-consorting laws and said the failure of the ACT government to introduce them earlier had sent the wrong message to bikies.

"The ACT is a soft target. It's essentially become an oasis or safehaven for bikies from NSW," Mr Hanson said.

"I'm worried that it's only a matter of time before an innocent member of the community is killed."

"I am much more concerned with the safety of our community than I am with the civil rights of violent criminal gangs." 

But outlaw motorcycle gang researcher and expert Terry Goldsworthy said there were still ways ACT police could make life difficult for ACT bikies.

"They have to drive somewhere, they have to go on the road and move around in public," Mr Goldsworthy said.

Police should pull bikies over for licence checks, roadside breathalyser tests, check for outstanding warrants and bail conditions and place some bikies on curfews if possible.

He added the community needed to see the police take action.

"You're not going to be able to get [bikies] to cease through rhetoric, you're going to have to start kicking some doors in," Mr Goldsworthy said.

"I would expect today or tomorrow you'll see some well publicised affirmative action."

A spokesperson for ACT police minister Mick Gentleman said Mr Gentleman would meet with police to discuss ACT firearms legislation and strategies for Taskforce Nemesis.

Employees at the neighbouring childcare centre arrived at work to see the crime scene but were assured by police they were safe.

Centre manager Kamal Dhooria said it was frightening but it was an otherwise good neighbourhood.

"The people next door are really good and they're helpful, we haven't had any issues with them," Ms Dhooria said.

Room manager Dianne Hunia said parents had been asking about the incident but no one had cancelled.

"We just reassure them: the centre's okay, the children are okay," Ms Hunia said.

"If anything happens, we're accountable for all these children inside the centre.

"We do want cops to do something, to see who is behind all these incidents," Ms Dhooria said.

As police inspected the scene, children could be seen walking to school as families drove past.

Police described one of the shooters as Caucasian, with a medium build and wearing a light top with blue jeans.

Last Tuesday, a high-powered, automatic machine gun was used to fire 27 shots at a home in Waramanga where a 17-year-old was sleeping inside.

The first attack in Kambah saw shots fired at a home in the early hours of July 7 and three cars on the property set alight.

Taskforce Nemesis has made 82 prosecutions for a total of 251 offences since its inception in August 2014.

The taskforce has documented home invasions, assaults, arsons, kidnapping, extortion and drive by shootings.

Last week after the Waramanga shooting, ACT police said the pattern of criminal activity was consistent with trends occurring in all other states and territories.

The ACT government signed a $655 million agreement with the AFP earlier this month to provide police to the territory for the next four years, formally outlining terrorism as their priority but not bikie-related violence.