A suspect in the murder of the head of the Comancheros bikie gang remains at large as police continue their investigations into the death of Pitasoni Ulavalu outside Kokomo’s in Civic in the early hours of Sunday morning.
While police would not say that Mr Ulavalu’s death was the result of a stabbing, there are reports of “blood all over the place” inside the popular venue.
Police would also not speculate on how the deceased man moved from within the venue to outside on the street where he died while paramedics worked to revive him.
Witnesses say that a fight began inside the venue before it spilled on to the street outside at about 12:05 am on Sunday morning. It has been reported the fight moved up and down Bunda Street outside Kokomo’s and that a number of scuffles occurred as more than 30 police officers and paramedics converged on the scene.
A second man was injured and taken to hospital but those injuries were not life-threatening. Police are hoping to speak with the man as soon as possible.
Police and forensic investigators remained on scene throughout Sunday while the venue has been cordoned off to the public and curious onlookers.
An ACT Policing spokesperson said the investigation into the incident was continuing and no further information would be released at this time. More information is expected later in the week.
“Investigators are reviewing CCTV footage and speaking to a number of witnesses,” the spokesperson said.
“ACT Policing would like to thank the public for their assistance in providing information so far. This information is valuable in helping police in an ongoing investigation.
“Anyone who may have any information, footage of the incident, or dash-cam footage from the area, that could assist police is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website.”
Kokomo’s remains closed while the investigation continues.
Today (20 July), a 30-year-old Kaleen man who was present outside the venue on Sunday morning faced court charged with a number of offences, including threatening to kill police and breach of good behaviour order.
ACT Policing said that as police were managing the scene, the 30-year-old man began arguing with police. A short time later, the man allegedly engaged in a physical confrontation with another man.
The 30-year-old man was then arrested and taken to the ACT Watch House where he allegedly made threats against a police officer and their family. The man faced the ACT Magistrates Court today (20 July) and was refused bail. Police said he was not a suspect in relation to the death of Mr Ulavalu.
In a video obtained by Region Media, a man in handcuffs who is led away by police on Sunday morning can be heard shouting at them, “my mate is on the ground dying over there”.
Meanwhile, ACT shadow Attorney-General Jeremy Hanson has called on the ACT Government to introduce anti-consorting laws that make it an offence for people to mix with known criminals.
The laws are in place in New South Wales, where speaking to two or more convicted criminals on several occasions, after receiving a warning by police, is punishable by imprisonment.
Mr Hanson said the Liberal Party is extremely concerned by a bikie-related death at a popular restaurant in Canberra.
“We have long been clear that Canberra needs anti-gang laws to disrupt violent bikie crime and help prevent the avoidable loss of life and the risk to families and innocent bystanders.
“The fact is that since the ACT Government failed to introduce anti-consorting laws more than a decade ago, we have seen a four-fold increase in bikie gangs and as a result a bikie war has unfolded across Canberra.
“Anti-gang laws have been backed by the High Court, police and other experts on the frontline of law enforcement,” Mr Hanson said.
However, ACT Policing’s acting chief of criminal investigations, Detective Inspector Matt Reynolds, said yesterday that outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) activity in Canberra was not increasing.
“In response to OMCG activity, the number of members in the ACT has significantly reduced due to the efforts of ACT Policing and Taskforce Nemesis,” Det Insp Reynolds said.
“We are obviously always concerned by any increase in crime that involves, not only OMCG, but any organised crime group.”
Taskforce Nemesis, which targets illegal outlaw motorcycle gang activity, last year laid 80 charges in relation to gang-related violence against 36 gang members in Canberra.