Sensing there may be trouble, police had an eye on the reception hall at the Serbian National Defence Council in Sydney on Sunday evening. More than 100 guests had gathered for a Comanchero bikie wedding in the suburb of Canley Vale.
''They were monitoring the event to make sure it was quite peaceful,'' Detective Acting Chief Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, the Organised Crime director, said.
But just after midnight, once police had left, violence broke out, leaving a 23-year-old father dead and two others in hospital with gunshot wounds.
In the second gang-related death in two weeks, Comanchero bikie Faalau Pisu was reportedly shot twice in the head and died in Liverpool Hospital on Monday morning.
A witness told Fairfax two men wearing balaclavas and carrying guns pulled up at the function centre in a blue utility and opened fire on guests out the front.
People ran back inside screaming, and the seven staff at the Serbian function centre tried to calm the guests and move them to the back of the building. Many were later treated for shock.
Superintendent Katsogiannis appealed for witnesses.
''We have been told there were about 100 guests at the function, and any one of them could have information that is vital to our investigation,'' he said.
Just hours before the wedding, Pisu's friends had joked online that he and his girlfriend, Linda, would be the next ones to get married.
''Hahaha no way,'' Pisu replied.
On Monday, his distraught girlfriend of four years, who has a young daughter, marked her partner's death with a new tattoo that said: ''I've been loving you too long.''
''[We're] not sure why it happened but Faalau was always looking out for everyone and a very humble man. Linda never thought any thing like this could happen,'' one friend said.
Pisu's sister, Faimai Faye, said she did not know why her brother was at the wedding.
''He was the best guy. He [was] a guy with a big heart and he loved each and every one of us,'' she said.
Another man, aged 27, was in a stable condition and the third injured man, aged 25, underwent minor injury.
Superintendent Katsogiannis called for calm and said extra police would be on patrol to prevent any reprisal shootings.
Sydney has been plagued with gang-related murders in recent months.
with Rachel Olding