News, Culture & Society

Sydney gangland shooting: Salim Hamze ‘knew he was a target’ before he was gunned down with his dad

A slain teenager who has become the latest victim of Sydney’s gangland wars ‘knew he was a target’ before he was gunned down alongside his dad in a brutal daylight shooting, police have revealed. 

Salim Hamze, 18, and his father Toufik, 64, were were both killed while sitting in the front of a red Nissan Navara ute on Osgood St, Guildford shortly before 9am on Wednesday. 

Police said Salim suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene while his father, who was shot in the head, was rushed to hospital but later died. 

The shooting is understood to be the latest escalation in the increasingly bloody Sydney underworld feud between the Alameddine and Hamze families.

Police believe Salim was the intended target and his father was collateral damage. 

Salim Hamze, 18, (pictured) and his father Toufik, 64, were found critically injured in the front seat of a red Nissan Navara ute on Osgood St, Guildford shortly before 9am on Wednesday

Paramedics desperately tried to revive Toufik before he was raced to Westmead Hospital, where he later died

Paramedics desperately tried to revive Toufik before he was raced to Westmead Hospital, where he later died 

Homicide detectives are now on the hunt for two offenders believed to be involved, with a burnt-out Lexus SUV found 1.8km away in Murdock Lane a short time after the shooting suspected to be the killers’ getaway car.

Officers are also trying to track down a dark-coloured Ford Mustang spotted leaving that area moments after the SUV went up in flames. 

Salim, a low-level member of the Hamze clan, was charged last month after police found a prohibited gun in the door of his vehicle. 

NSW Police’s Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett said when officers stopped him and seized the firearm, the teenager knew he was ‘under threat’. 

‘He was known to us as a person who was sometimes under threat and known to be involved in criminal organisations,’ Supt Bennett said, the Daily Telegraph reports. 

‘Our main focus is a ­number of known families ­involved in serious and organised crime, so we’ll be ­chasing up every lead in ­relation to this matter and we will be hoping to interview people in the coming days.’ 

Salim's lawyer Ahmed Dib said the youth was eager to turn his life around after being charged with illegally possessing firearms

Salim’s lawyer Ahmed Dib said the youth was eager to turn his life around after being charged with illegally possessing firearms

The father and son are among four Hamze family members to be killed within the past 12 months, after gang leader Mejid was shot dead last October and his cousin Bilal was assassinated in June. 

It is understood police believe the motive for the latest attack may have been retaliation for a drive-by shooting on the home of Assad Alahmad – the brother-in-law of kingpin Rafat Alameddine – earlier this year. 

Police revealed other members of the Hamze crew are known to have prices on their heads. 

Meanwhile, lawyer Ahmed Dib, who had been representing Salim over the firearm charges, said the young teenager knew he was heading down a troubled path and was eager to turn over a new leaf. 

A burnt-out Lexus SUV was found 1.8km away in Murdock Lane a short time after the shooting

A burnt-out Lexus SUV was found 1.8km away in Murdock Lane a short time after the shooting 

Police secure the crime scene around the red ute where the father and son were shot on Wednesday

Police secure the crime scene around the red ute where the father and son were shot on Wednesday

Mr Dib said a police officer contacted him last week over a driving matter relating to the teen, prompting him to call Salim. 

‘The officer said he appeared to be a young man, a good man, who was going down the wrong path and said to maybe have a word with him,’ Mr Dib said,  The Sydney Morning Herald reports. 

‘So I contacted him and we had a quite open and candid conversation.’ 

Mr Dib said Salim said he came from a good family and ‘he wanted to excel in life in a positive way’. 

He told his lawyer he planned to move out of his neighbourhood in southwest Sydney and build a career in construction, like his father. 

‘I think it’s absolutely tragic when you have young people who haven’t even begun their lives yet falling victim to what they say is gang-related crime,’ he said. 

Law enforcement teams are expected to crackdown on the two gangs as their bloody battle for drug territory continues to spiral out of control. 

There were frantic scenes near the site of the execution on Wednesday afternoon as police pulled over residents driving just a block away from the shooting (pictured)

There were frantic scenes near the site of the execution on Wednesday afternoon as police pulled over residents driving just a block away from the shooting (pictured)

Police forced a Toyota Hilux to pull over and give his phone to officers while officers pored over his vehicle with gloves and torches about 4pm (pictured)

Police forced a Toyota Hilux to pull over and give his phone to officers while officers pored over his vehicle with gloves and torches about 4pm (pictured)

Daily Mail Australia understands Salim and his father were leaving home to go to work when they were assassinated. 

The victims carpooled together most morning and police believe their attackers were aware of their morning routine. 

There were frantic scenes near the site of the execution on Wednesday afternoon as police pulled over residents driving just a block away from the shooting. 

Police forced a Toyota Hilux to pull over and give his phone to officers while officers pored over his vehicle with gloves and torches about 4pm – from the engine to the undercarriage of the car. 

His phone was eventually returned and he drove away.

Police pulled over at least two more drivers, but both were released.  

Neighbours fear a terrible mistake after revealing how Hamzes and Alameddines lived in peace on same street

 It was the quiet suburban street where Hamzes and Alameddines lived literally side by side – until the peace was shattered by a deadly salvo of shots on Wednesday morning.

Elsewhere in the Sydney’s west, the two family names are synonymous with the bloody gangland battle which has seen brutal tit for tat gun battles and executions. 

On Guildford’s Osgood Street however, it was a different story. 

Father Toufik Hamze, 64, is believed to have lived alone in his humble rented home at number 17 after son Salim, 18, moved out to live in his own home in Auburn.

Just across the road however, lived the Alameddines, at their palatial home at number 18.

Despite the bitter bloody feud played out by their namesakes, on Osgood Street, neighbours say both families got on well without any hint of trouble.

Until Wednesday.

Around 8.30am, Salim and Toufik Hamze were gunned down as the son picked up his father in their battered old ute to go to to work. 

Salim died in the hail of bullets at the scene, his body left in the morning sun, partially hidden under a blue sheet by medics and detectives.

His father was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but medics couldn’t save him.

Salim Hamze and his father Toufik were found slumped in a red ute (pictured) following reports of a shooting in Guildford on Wednesday morning

Salim Hamze and his father Toufik were found slumped in a red ute (pictured) following reports of a shooting in Guildford on Wednesday morning

Osgood St (pictured) in Guildford has been cordoned off as a high presence of police investigate the scene of the shooting

Osgood St (pictured) in Guildford has been cordoned off as a high presence of police investigate the scene of the shooting

A burnt out Lexus – believed to have been used as the assassins’ getaway vehicle – was found less than 2km from the scene shortly after the double execution.

The deaths were instantly linked to the long-running gang battle between the rival crime families – but neighbours fear there has been a terrible mistake.

‘Salim and Toufik are not related to the gangster Hamzes,’ said one neighbour. ‘I’m from Lebanon myself so I know these things.

‘They are not from the same family, same village, same part of Lebanon or even the same religion. They had nothing to do with the other Hamzes.

A burnt out Lexus SUV (pictured) was found 1.8km away in Murdock Lane a short time after the shooting

A burnt out Lexus SUV (pictured) was found 1.8km away in Murdock Lane a short time after the shooting

‘There was never any trouble between the Hamzes and Alameddines on Osgood Street.

‘They got on well – there was no hint of any trouble.’

He added: ‘I think someone has made a terrible mistake. I think there’s been a misunderstanding.

‘They’ve been too good together, I’ve never seen them fight at all.’ 

Jailed Brothers 4 Life gangland boss Bassam Hamzy confirmed to Daily Mail Australia from his Supermax high security jail cell in Goulburn that the dead men were no relation to him.

Hamzy is serving a 40 year jail term over murder and gang-related offences, after first being locked up in 1998 over the killing of a Sydney teenager. 

Mr Hamzy’s cousin Bilan Hamze was gunned down outside a Japanese restaurant in Sydney’s CBD in June in the latest escalation of the running battle. 

Six male members of the Alameddine crew are already in jail or before the courts, facing charges related to guns, drugs, violence and organised crime. 

But another former resident stressed the Alameddines on Osgood Street were good neighbours.

‘They have a tree-lopping business,’ said one. ‘They are good people, a nice family. I’ve got nothing bad to say about them and I highly, highly doubt they would be involved in anything like this.

‘I never saw anything out of the normal with those people.’ 

Dozens of police have arrived at the scene in Guildford to investigate the latest escalation in the long-running underworld feud between Alameddine and Hamze families

Dozens of police have arrived at the scene in Guildford to investigate the latest escalation in the long-running underworld feud between Alameddine and Hamze families

Police have confirmed Salim was ‘well known’ to them and on bail for firearms offences after being arrested by the State Crime Command on September 10.

‘He was known to us as a person sometimes under threat and known to be involved in criminal organisations.’ Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett said.

Police are unaware of any criminal involvement of the slain father.  

He described Wednesday’s double murder as an appalling act of violence on the streets of Sydney.

‘It’s an atrocious crime that shouldn’t have taken place,’ Superintendent Bennett said.

‘It’s another appalling crime in a long list of gangland style shootings that have taken place in south-west Sydney.

‘The State Crime Command and local police are hand in glove trying to stop to these crimes before they happen.’ 

Salim Hamze, 18, and his father Toufik, 64 were shot while leaving for work. Pictured are police being briefed at the scene

Salim Hamze, 18, and his father Toufik, 64 were shot while leaving for work. Pictured are police being briefed at the scene

It remains unclear how Salim and his father are related to the rest of Hamze family. However, the teenager is not believed to be closely related to the heavyweights in the Hamze gang.

Different branches of the family use variations of the ‘Hamze’ surname including the alternative spelling ‘Hamzy’, with Salim’s name is recorded as ‘Hamiz’ in police data bases. 

Police admitted they’re concerned about reprisal attacks.

‘We’re worried about reprisals, we’re worried about family feud and we’re also worried about drug and kidnapping turf wars, and they’re going on in south-west Sydney all the time,’ Superintendent Bennett said. 

Sources close to the Hamze clan told Daily Mail Australia family members held an urgent Zoom meeting with a criminal defence lawyer shortly in the wake of the slaying.  

‘We live in Merrylands but we were driving through this morning at about 9.30 and we saw the police everywhere,' these women (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia

‘We live in Merrylands but we were driving through this morning at about 9.30 and we saw the police everywhere,’ these women (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia

The slain pair are among four members of the extended Hamze family to be shot dead in the last year. 

In June, the crime boss cousin of Brothers for Life gangster Bassam Hamzy was executed in a drive-by shooting after leaving Sydney’s ritzy Kid Kyoto Japanese restaurant.

Underworld figure Bilal Hamze, 34, had a bounty on his head when he was shot twice in the stomach and once in the shoulder in front of shocked onlookers.

Bilal was hiding out in the city amid underworld conflict with members of the rival Alameddine clan.

His public assassination came after his own mother Maha Hamze’s home in Auburn was the target of a drive-by shooting in February.

A burnt out Lexus SUV (pictured) found 1.8km away in Murdock Lane shortly afterwards has since been towed away

A burnt out Lexus SUV (pictured) found 1.8km away in Murdock Lane shortly afterwards has since been towed away

Police were called to the Guildford street off Woodville Road shortly before 9am following reports of a shooting.

Police were called to the Guildford street off Woodville Road shortly before 9am following reports of a shooting.

No one inside was injured but a nurse at a nearby hospital was hurt when a stray bullet destroyed a window she was standing near.

In October last year, Mejid Hamzy – the younger brother of Bassam, was gunned down in broad daylight outside his Condell Park home.

Two brothers allegedly linked to the Alameddine family have been arrested over the fatal shooting of Mejid, but police believe the gunmen are still at large.

In September, police released CCTV footage of two hooded men fleeing from the scene moments after Mejid was shot dead as they continue to hunt for the killers.

The CCTV captured the face and distinct blond hair of one the men briefly exposed after his hoodie fell off while fleeing the scene through the reserve before getting into two luxury cars.

Almost two months later, Shady Kanj, 22, was struck by a bullet while a passenger in a car driving on Boundary Rd, Chester Hill in western Sydney on August 6.

Mejid Hamzy (pictured) was gunned down outside his home at Condell Park early in the morning in October last year

Brothers for Life founder Bassam Hamzy (above) is serving a life sentence in Goulburn's Supermax

Mejid Hamzy (left), the brother of jailed Brothers for Life gang founder Bassam (right) was gunned down outside his home at Condell Park in October last year

Bilal Hamzy, the cousin of Bassam, was executed in a drive-by shooting in Sydney's CBD in June (pictured above sequence of events)

Bilal Hamzy, the cousin of Bassam, was executed in a drive-by shooting in Sydney’s CBD in June (pictured above sequence of events) 

Kanj was an associate of both the Hamzy and Alameddine gangs,

A week later, a suspected murder attempt against another member of the Hamze clan was foiled following a police traffic stop in Sydney’s north. 

Police believe gangland rivals had been planning to carry out an attack on Ibrahem Hamze when a stolen Mercedes was spotted on Walker Street on August 14.

The driver allegedly refused to stop the vehicle for officers before speeding off and running through a red light. 

But the car suffered a flat tyre forcing the driver and another passenger to abandon the vehicle on Miller Street at Cammeray.

Anyone with information about Wednesday morning’s shooting is urged to call Crime Stoppers. 

The shooting (scene pictured) is understood to be the latest escalation in the long-running Sydney underworld feud between the Alameddine and Hamze families

 The shooting (scene pictured) is understood to be the latest escalation in the long-running Sydney underworld feud between the Alameddine and Hamze families

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk