The linking of the shooting to a brawl between gangs at a Tweed Heads venue on State of Origin night sparked another round of political sparring between the Queensland government and opposition over their crime-fighting credentials.
But superintendent Wayne Starling, of New South Wales police, said the ongoing murder investigation had found “no evidence whatsoever to suggest [the shooting] is a retaliation by any bikie group”.
A senior source within the Lone Wolf gang, one of a number of self-styled “outlaw” clubs targeted in various state government crackdowns over the past decade, said a News Corp report that the man was one of their number was wrong.
“We’ve accounted for all our blokes,” the gang source told Guardian Australia. “We don’t know who [the victim] is.”
Starling said the shooting victim, who was “known to police”, was dropped at Tweed Heads hospital on Saturday by a woman who was now among witnesses being interviewed.
The man died “as a result of a gunshot wound to his torso” despite the best efforts of medical staff, Starling told reporters on Sunday.
Starling said the dead man was “not a member of any outlaw motorcycle gang known to us”. He was unable to release the victim’s details as police had difficulties locating next of kin.
The News Corp report said a Lone Wolf bikie was believed to have been ambushed or shot during a meeting between Lone Wolf and Bandidos bikies to resolve differences after a brawl at Seagulls on Wednesday.
The gang source described the Wednesday incident as minor, saying the suggestion that the shooting death was payback for that was ridiculous.
Starling said there was “no evidence whatsoever to suggest that this fellow died as a result of the brawl at Seagulls last week”.
There was likewise no evidence backing a rumour the man was shot outside a bikie clubhouse “however it’s still very early in the investigation. We’re still looking at all avenues of inquiry”.
“We never rule anything out in an investigation,” Starling said. “All I can say at this point of time is the shooting occurred yesterday afternoon and we have not detected any evidence that outlaw motorcycle gangs are involved in the shooting.”
John-Paul Langbroek, the Surfers Paradise Liberal National party MP, had earlier commented in connection with the shooting that Queensland police were alarmed at a bikie resurgence after the Labor government rollback of contentious LNP laws.
“The police and community know the bikies are emboldened and on the comeback because the Palaszczuk government has rolled out the red carpet,” he told News Corp.
Grace Grace, a Palaszczuk government minister, in turn denied there was a problem with bikie crime on the Gold Coast.
“My understanding is the problem hasn’t gotten any worse and that it is getting better,” she said.
Starling, the commander of the Tweed Heads police district just south of the border, said he would not comment “on government policy” but in his opinion there was “no bikie problem at the southern end of the Gold Coast”.
“All I can say at this stage is a fellow’s been killed, he’s been killed in our area and we will solve this crime,” he said.