Sara Limbu initially thought a vehicle had backfired, before learning a gunman had opened fire. Photo: Peter Rae The bullet hole in the window of Billu’s Indian Eatery in Wigram Street, Harris Park. Photo: Peter Rae
A bullet that was fired through the front window of a crowded Indian restaurant in Sydney’s west missed hitting diners by just centimetres, in what police have described as a remarkable stroke of luck.
Sara Limbu was at Billu’s Indian Eatery in Harris Park with her husband and three children on Tuesday night celebrating her husband’s birthday when a gunman fired a shot through the front window just before 9pm.
Mrs Limbu said she and her husband were standing at the front of the shop on Wigram Street ordering a traditional Indian dessert when they heard what at first they mistook for a vehicle backfiring on the street.
It was not until a short time later that they realised the noise was in fact a bullet, which had pierced the front window just centimetres from where they had been standing.
The bullet struck a shelf inside the restaurant, remarkably missing any of the estimated 40 diners and staff who were in the restaurant.
“We saw there was a hole in the window, somebody put a bullet through the window. It was cracked,” Mrs Limbu told Fairfax Media.
“We realised it was really close, it was close to us.
“It was a bit scary, I was shocked. I was with my family and three children.”
Mrs Limbu said she and her husband had been ordering the Indian dessert paan at the time the shot was fired. A sign on the front fence of Billu’s Indian Eatery says: “Keep calm and eat paan.”
Police said the gunman, dressed in a blue tracksuit, was seen running from the restaurant and is believed to have nearly knocked over a woman at a pedestrian crossing on Wigram Street.
Police want to speak to her in the hope she can help them identify the offender, who has not been caught.
Detectives are understood to be investigating if the shooting was a targeted attack, and are interviewing staff and customers who were in the restaurant.
NSW Police Inspector Adam Phillips told the ABC that it was extremely lucky no one inside the restaurant was injured.
“The frightening thing with this is that the shot that was fired … was in a particular part of the restaurant which was extremely busy,” Inspector Phillips said.
It is the second time this year a gunman on foot has fired shots in the vicinity of the restaurant.
In April, police closed Wigram Street when a man fired up to nine shots into the air on a Saturday afternoon, before fleeing.
Niti Sheh, who lives on Wigram Street, said on Wednesday morning that the latest shooting was “really scary”.
“In four months, it’s happening twice. A couple of days ago there was also a fire in the shop nearby. I don’t know what’s going on, you know?” she said.
“It’s really scary. I’m scared that I come out and I’m walking here and anything can happen.”
Ms Sheh said she was a former employee at Billu’s Indian Eatery, and was working on the day in April when the shots were fired outside the restaurant.
Ms Sheh said she saw the gunman in April stand outside the restaurant for up to 40 minutes before firing into the air.
“Me and my colleague were standing outside for half an hour and the fellow shot after some time,” she said.
She said he had fired into the air, and did not appear to be trying to hit anyone.
Ejaz Khan, the vice-president of the Harris Park Chamber of Commerce, said he believed the shootings were gang related.
Mr Khan said he ate at Billu’s on Tuesday night, but left about 30 minutes before the shooting.
“I can’t believe this. This is the third incident in the last couple of months in Harris Park, and I believe strongly that there are criminal gangs working in this area,” he said.
Police are appealing for anyone who saw the offender to come forward, in particular the woman who was nearly knocked to the ground at the pedestrian crossing.
Police described her as being Indian or subcontinental in appearance, aged between 25 and 30, and she was wearing a pink top.
Anyone with information has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Crime Stoppers online reporting page. */]]>