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Canberra bikie shooting sees 'innocent family' caught up in mistaken identity: ACT top cop


An "innocent Canberra family" has been caught up in a bikie feud, with several shots fired into their Ngunnawal home and their front door set alight.

ACT Chief Police Officer Justine Saunders said this morning that the shooting was likely a case of mistaken identity, as a bikie gang member previously lived at the residence.

"It's [now] a family home of a completely innocent family," she told ABC Radio Canberra.

No-one was injured in the shooting, which police say happened "late" last Tuesday.

"My fears are in some ways being realised by the fact that we are having innocent people being caught up in some of this rivalry," Assistant Commissioner Saunders said.

Police did not release any information publicly before her comments today.

Officers were initially called to a home invasion and found the offenders had fired several shots and set fire to the front door before fleeing.

They urged anyone who saw a silver ute or suspicious activity in Ngunnawal, or who has relevant CCTV footage, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Assistant Commissioner Saunders said the issue was keeping her up at night, and police have growing concerns over bikie violence.

In March, a man sought help at Chifley petrol station about being shot in the arm in broad daylight an attack which police suspected to be bikie-related.


Three days later, ACT Policing's bikie investigation branch began investigating the shooting of a Harrison home and car, which happened while people were home but no-one was injured.

ACT Policing has been asked to provide figures for gang-related shootings and other violent crimes in Canberra this year.

But Assistant Commissioner Saunders earlier told the ABC that bikie-related violence remains one of the biggest challenges police face, with home break-ins, assaults, arsons and drive-by shootings among the crimes that have risen steadily in the past few years.

ACT Policing attributed the recent breakout of outlaw motorcycle gang crime to a rift in the Comancheros gang.

Police continue anti-consorting law push

Last year, police were given extra powers designed to target outlaw motorcycle gangs, including a new offence for drive-by shootings with penalties of up to 10 years behind bars.

The new laws were introduced after at least seven suspected bikie-related shootings last year, including two in which people were shot, two next door to a childcare centre and several where children were home at the time.

But Assistant Commissioner Saunders said a fourth gang, the Finks, had moved to Canberra since those incidents happened and the laws were strengthened.

The Finks joined the Rebels Canberra's only bikie-gang for decades the Comancheros and the Nomads.

The territory is not covered by tough anti-consorting laws aimed at stopping bikies from associating with each other a power Assistant Commissioner Saunders said she would continue to push for her police force.

"I've said consistently, and I'll continue to say, that police need preventative powers," she said.

"And what's critically important is that we have a national, consistent laws in dealing with what is a national issue."

The New South Wales Government introduced anti-consorting laws in 2009, a change the Canberra Liberals have previously blamed for gang members travelling to Canberra.

But the ACT Government is against the laws due to human rights concerns.