Gunman fires at crowded Indian restaurant in Sydney

Last Updated 26 August 2015, 11:39 IST

A gunman fired at a popular Indian restaurant in Sydney's Harris Park packed with about 40 people, but the bullet missed hitting the diners by just centimetres, the second such incident in last four months in the area.

The gunman fired a shot through the front window of the 'Billu's Indian Eatery' at Harris Park in Sydney's west around 9 pm local time last night when about 40 customers and staff were inside the restaurant.

The bullet missed hitting the diners by just centimetres and struck a shelf inside the restaurant at Wigram Street, in what police have described as a remarkable stroke of luck, police said.

The gunman, dressed in a blue tracksuit, was seen running south on Wigram Street after the incident, police said.

The police are investigating if the shooting was a targeted attack. They were also questioning the staff and the customers who were present in the restaurant.

The investigators are seeking assistance of anyone who saw the man come forward, in particular a woman, who was nearly knocked to the ground by him near the pedestrian crossing on the Wigram Street.

Police said they believed the shot was fired by an offender who was on foot.

The latest incident is the second in this year when a gunman has fired shots in the area which is a hub of Indian restaurants and other Indian shops.

In April, diners were enjoying their lunch in Harris Park area, when after 2 pm local time, a man walked outside and fired a volley of bullets.

Sydney-based cardiologist Yadu Singh, who is also a close friend of the restaurant's owner, said the incident has generated a great concern among the Indian businesses in the area.
"It is scary and police is probing the incident," Singh said.

Singh, also president of the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW (New South Wales), said they were "very concerned" about such attacks on Indian businesses in Harris Park over the last few months.

"Last night, people were lucky that the bullet did not hit anyone. There is a rumour that these attacks are for the purpose of intimidation and bullying to facilitate "hafta" (extortion) from our businesses.

"Our businesses do not need or deserve to be intimidated, fired at or harmed. We demand NSW Police, Police minister and Premier, Mike Baird, to do everything to get to the bottom of this whole thing in Harris Park," he said. 

(Published 26 August 2015, 11:39 IST)

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