Sydney has been warned the shooting death of an ex-Comancheros boss could spark a resurgence in bloody bikie gang wars that terrorised the city throughout the 2000s.
Mahmoud ‘Mick’ Hawi died after being shot in the face by a masked gunman outside a Fitness First gym in Sydney’s south.
A balaclava-wearing assailant fired multiple bullets at the father-of-two, 37, in a Rockdale car park about 12.10pm on Thursday.
The brazen daylight shooting has sparked fears there could be a resurgence in street gang wars as police investigate the former bikie’s connections.
Former Comancheros boss Mahmoud ‘Mick’ Hawi (pictured) has died after he was shot in the face in Rockdale, south of Sydney
Six bullets were fired at the driver’s side of Hawi’s Mercedes SUV about 12.10pm on Thursday
A stray bullet (bottom left) went through the window of the nearby Rockdale gym
Two masked suspects were seen fleeing the scene shortly after the violent shooting (pictured)
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon told media the ‘planned and targeted attack’ had no ‘regard to human life’.
‘Police are very adept and investigating a number of links, organised crime is something we investigate routinely,’ he said.
‘[Hawi] has a history with that group and it’s something we will explore.’
The Lebanese migrant was freed from jail recently for his infamous role in a fatal brawl between the Comancheros and the rival Hells Angels gang at Sydney Airport in 2009.
Hawi was found guilty in 2011 of murdering 29-year-old Anthony Zervas during a brawl at Sydney airport in March 2009 but the conviction was later overturned.
Police are investigating Hawi’s (above) bikie links to identify the masked gunman
Mr Zervas, who was the brother of Hells Angels member Peter Zervas, died after being beaten with a bollard when the bikie gangs brawled inside the airport.
Hawi was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
He was given parole in 2015, with strict bail conditions preventing him from associating with outlaw motorcycle gang members, or possessing firearms or drugs.
Since being released from prison, there is believed to have been a power struggle in the gang Hawi used to lead, according to Ten News.
The 37-year-old reportedly told friends and family he knew he was a marked man and had been living life looking over his shoulder.
Hawi had left the gym when he was shot a number of times in the face as witnesses tried to staunch the bleeding but he went into cardiac arrest.
The former bikie gang leader was rushed to St George Hospital in Sydney’s south in a critical condition and was declared brain dead.
The father-of-two was confirmed dead hours later.
The gunman is believed to have jumped into a getaway car and police later found out a burnt out vehicle in nearby Kogarah.
‘We put sufficient resources out there to prevent any retribution that may be considered as a result of his shooting,’ Assistant Commissioner Lanyon said.
The brazen daylight shooting has sparked fears there could be a resurgence in street gang wars as police investigate the former bikie’s connections
Bullet holes were clearly visible in the windows of Hawi’s Mercedes SUV
Since being released from prison, there is believed to have been a power struggle in the gang Hawi used to lead
‘It was a serious, brutal callous attack and one police will not stand for.’
One of Hawi’s distraught teenage sons arrived at the taped off crime scene shortly after 3pm.
Meanwhile, a large group of emotional family and friends gathered outside the hospital, which remains under heavy police guard.
The former bikie was known to regularly train at the gym.
Forensics police are examining his bullet-riddled car as detectives spoke to witnesses.
Four bullet holes were clearly seen through the driver side window. One shattered the passenger side window and went into the gym, witnesses said.
Police said the shooter fled in a getaway car and was last seen on nearby Lindsay Street.
A teenager claiming to be Hawi’s son was photographed at the car park just after 3pm (pictured)
Reshan Mutukrishna, who owns a physiotherapy clinic inside the gym, said he often saw Hawi at the Fitness First.
Mr Mutukrishna said he heard four loud bangs – which he initially thought were weights being dropped – before the gym went into lockdown.
‘I heard a lot of screaming and shouting, I just thought maybe someone fell at the gym,’ he said.
‘It’s shocking. It’s sad but it’s not surprising.’
Hawi’s son was photographed at the car park just after 3pm. The boy was seen being consoled by several other distraught people.
‘Do you know who that is? It’s my dad,’ he told the Daily Telegraph before getting in a car with two other people and leaving the scene.
A man who works at Opposite Lock South Sydney, which is located across the street, told Daily Mail Australia he heard six shots but didn’t look outside.
The 37-year-old father-of-two is pictured with his wife Carolina Gonzales who he married in 2002
Hawi (pictured) was found guilty in 2011 of murdering 29-year-old Anthony Zervas during a brawl at Sydney airport in March 2009
Hawi went into cardiac arrest and was taken St George’s Hospital (pictured are police at the scene)
‘I only saw the aftermath, everyone trying to stop the bleeding,’ he said.
Police are investigating if there is a connection between the shooting and a car that was set alight nearby on Beach Street in Kogarah shortly afterwards.
Men who had been working out inside the gym at the time of the attack said they didn’t hear any gunshots.
One of the men said he was on the treadmill at the time Hawi was shot.
Fitness First said it had closed the Rockdale gym until further notice. ‘We are fully complying with the police investigation,’ a spokeswoman said.
‘Our priority is ensuring our staff and members are provided the right support at this time.’
A man who works at Opposite Lock South Sydney, which is located across the street, told Daily Mail Australia he heard six shots but didn’t look outside (pictured is the scene)