A man has been shot dead while sitting in a car next to his 12-year-old son outside a gym in Western Sydney, in what police called a “targeted organized crime murder”.
Taha Sabbagh, 40, and his son arrived at the martial arts gym Elite Fight Force on Carlingford Street in Sefton shortly after 6.30 a.m.
Mr. Sabbagh was shot multiple times before he could get out of the car, according to police.
The attack was described as “sickening, callous, and brazen” by Homicide Squad Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty.
“It’s horrendous to think a 12-year-old had to witness his father being shot dead in this manner,” Detective Superintendent Doherty said.
“It’s a sickening feeling. (The offenders are) callous, brazen and have little disregard for human life.”
He claimed that at least two people were involved, who used a Mazda 3 as a getaway vehicle before driving it to Magdella Street in Birrong and torching it.
Detective Superintendent Doherty stated that police needed to keep a “open mind” about the motive for the murder, but suspected it was related to organized crime.
“We believe this was a targeted attack. It bears the hallmarks of an organised crime murder,” he said.
“He was associated with people who are well known to police and have strong criminal activity connected to them.”
He does not believe the murder was related to the spate of gangland murders in the last 18 months, which resulted in at least 15 shooting deaths.
Police said Mr Sabbagh died outside the gym despite efforts by paramedics to save him.
A worker at a neighbouring business told ABC News he heard multiple shots being fired.
“I heard four to six shots and then a gap and then another series of shots,” the worker said.
“Then I heard a car speed off.”
A person from a separate business on Carlingford Street said the area was blocked off and “chaotic”.
“There are people everywhere. Family members are arriving and running around. It’s chaotic at the moment,” he said.
Bankstown detectives and the Homicide Squad are looking into the shooting’s circumstances.
Police have asked witnesses and anyone with dashcam or CCTV footage to contact them.