Nationwide hunt for bikie boss’ sniper

 

Within minutes of bikie heavyweight Nick Martin being shot dead - most likely from a sniper's bullet - the manhunt for his killer began.

As the crowds at Perth Motorplex were prevented from leaving as the grim scene of paramedics trying to revive the 51-year-old Rebel gang member took place in front of them, the gunman was making a quick escape.

The large Kwinana venue offers a sharp marksman a wide range of places to lie in wait with police investigating if the killer was perched in a stand 100m away when they made the precision shot or hidden in bushes on the raceway's boundary fence.

The cold-blooded execution also injured a five-year old boy and another Rebel bikie, Ricky Chapman. The 31-year-old partner of Martin's stepdaughter Stacey Schoppe was rushed to an undisclosed hospital with a gunshot wound to an arm. Last night he was in a stable condition.

The boy, balanced on the lap of Martin's wife Amanda who was sitting next to her husband, was luckily only grazed in Saturday night's shooting and was not treated at hospital.

Former Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin. Picture: Channel Ten
Former Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin. Picture: Channel Ten

A nationwide manhunt has begun as homicide and gang crime detectives work together in a large task force for one simple objective - to solve one of WA's biggest gangland slayings in decades.

The opening of borders to the nation's largest states - NSW and Victoria - last week expanded the exit routes the killer could have taken.

Dozen of officers, likely assisted by the Australian Federal Police's National Anti-Gangs Squad, will be examining Martin's movements before his shooting.

One of the first to be interviewed will be Hells Angels boss Dayne Brajkovich who allegedly bashed Martin at a Scarborough bar two weeks ago.

An outraged WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said police were in a "heightened state of readiness" for possible "retaliatory attacks".

Mr Dawson warned the state's bikies to expect police pressure to "ramp right up" as they moved to kill off an escalating gang war.

He would not elaborate on the child's injuries, the son of a Martin family friend, but said he was treated at the scene and did not need to go to hospital.

Ambulance paramedics at the Perth scene shortly after the shooting.
Ambulance paramedics at the Perth scene shortly after the shooting.

He said police had ramped up resourcing amid concerns of another public attack in which innocent people may be caught up.

"As the West Australian Police Commissioner, I'm outraged at this violent, criminal behaviour that has resulted in the fatal shooting of a man," he said.

"The fatal shooting of this man occurred in front of many innocent people at the Kwinana Motorplex last night.

"The community is justifiably outraged at this type of violent, criminal behaviour in a crowd in Western Australia. This is not the Western Australia that we want to live in.

"We will be relentless in our policing of outlaw motorcycle gangs. We have been for many years and we will continue to."

Mr Dawson said "an extensive investigation" had started but would not speculate on whether anyone saw the shooter.

Police have launched a nationwide manhunt to find the ‘sniper’.
Police have launched a nationwide manhunt to find the ‘sniper’.

Asked if police had concerns the shooting was the start of an "all out bikie war", Mr Dawson said "there has been friction and bad terms, certainly within the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang themselves, but as I repeat they are criminal gangs".

He conceded there were concerns about a retaliation attack but said "bikies can guarantee they are going to get a lot more contact" from police.

"Police have ramped up a very big operation on top of our normal operations," Mr Dawson said.

"We are at a heightened state of readiness to ensure there are no retaliatory attacks, but that is the nature of the gangs that we deal with. They are already under significant police pressure and that pressure will ramp right up. We want this information, the persons or person responsible for this must be brought to justice."

Asked if there were concerns the shooter could have already fled interstate, Mr Dawson said officers had alerted police across the country.

Originally published as Nationwide hunt for bikie boss' sniper