Billu’s Restaurant was shot at by an unknown gunman on Tuesday night. Photo: Peter RaeUp to 40 people inside a busy Indian restaurant in Sydney’s west were “extremely lucky” not to be injured when a gunman fired a shot through the front window, police say.
The gunman, dressed in a blue tracksuit, was seen running from Billu’s Indian Eatery on Wigram Street in Harris Park after the shooting, which occurred just before 9pm on Tuesday.
The fleeing gunman is believed to have nearly knocked over a woman at a pedestrian crossing on Wigram Street, and police now hope to speak to her, hoping she may be able to help identify the offender.
Police said between 30 and 40 customers and staff were inside the restaurant when the shot was fired. Remarkably, the bullet missed everyone inside and hit a shelf, police said.
Some diners did not realise immediately that a shot had been fired, and thought a car had backfired.
“It was extremely lucky that no one was injured,” a NSW Police spokeswoman said.
Detectives are understood to be investigating if the shooting was a targeted attack, and are interviewing staff and customers who were in the restaurant. A lot of Police cars in Harris Park right now. Wigram Street closed. Not sure why pic.twitter杭州夜网m/FG9q4HPxpw— Yadu Singh (@dryadusingh) August 25, 2015
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.
A witness to that shooting, Fairfax Media employee Ramakrishna Gudipudi, said at the time that he was eating lunch when the shooting occurred.
“My wife and I were eating at Billu’s Indian restaurant when this gunman appeared out of the middle of nowhere and fired away,” Mr Gudipudi said.
“After he fled we walked over and saw eight bullets scattered all over the ground.
“You don’t expect to be eating lunch and have bullets fired around you.”
It was not clear whether the two shootings were linked.
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 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.
He said there were about 25 restaurants, many Indian, operating within a 2½-kilometre radius in Harris Park, and they needed to know they could operate safely.
“We are a very happy, peaceful community in this area,” he said.
On Tuesday night, detectives closed a section Wigram Street as they searched for the gunman, while forensic police examined the restaurant.
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. */]]>