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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Gun battle between rival gang members in the heart of Adelaide that had footpath diners diving to escape a volley of 15 shots

Man charged over a brazen gun battle between rival gang members in the heart of Adelaide that had footpath diners diving to escape a volley of 15 shots.The shootout involved about a dozen men, with some gunshots narrowly missing cafe and restaurant patrons in the early hours of May 6. Security footage of the scene showed at least one man brandishing a pistol as gang members traded shots. A car, believed to be used by one of the gangs, was found burning in Adelaide's northern suburbs the next day, and the investigation has resulted in the seizure of weapons and ammunition in a raid on one house. At the time, South Australian Police Assistant Commissioner Tony Harrison said officers believed the shootout was linked to the distribution of illicit drugs but would not name the gangs involved. At least one was believed to be a bikie gang. Police have now charged a 38-year-old man with acts to endanger life and firearms offences in relation to the incident. A police spokesman said the man had also been charged with two counts of threatening to kill and with causing an affray in relation to a second incident in August when a man was shot in the leg on an Adelaide street. The charged man was refused police bail and the spokesman said prosecutors would seek a court ban on publication or broadcast of his image.
"The man's identity is a crucial part of the ongoing investigation," he said.
The Crime Gangs Task Force expected to make further arrests in relation to the shootout which sparked renewed debate on State Government moves to crack down on the activities of illegal gangs, especially bikies. SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said the shootout vindicated the Government's decision to draft tough new laws to rid South Australia of gangs.
Those measures have since passed State Parliament, allowing police to ask that specific groups or gangs be declared, essentially banning their members from meeting.



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