Ibrahim shooting attempt to halt wedding
THE pavement outside was scrawled with the words "Sam + Aisha 18.11.17", and the groom wore torn pants.
As the bodyguard of notorious Sydney nightclub identity John Ibrahim lay in hospital after taking a bullet in his back, and rumours swirled that relations between two notorious families had broken down, the wedding joining the Ibrahim and Mehajer families went ahead regardless.
On Saturday night, Ibrahim's nephew Hassan Sam Sayour and controversial former Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer's sister, Aisha, tied the knot while police searched the Merrylands home for clues to the shooting of loyal bodyguard Semi "Tongan Sam" Ngata less than a day earlier.
The wedding was mere metres away from the scene of the shooting, an act police described as a "brazen and targeted" attack.
Ngata remains in Westmead Hospital in a serious but stable condition, and it's understood he has undergone surgery.
The shooting, in the backyard of Ibrahim's mother's home on Friday night saw the nuptials take place against a backdrop of security, a biker presence and police.
One police source told The Sunday Telegraph that among the theories being investigated was that opposition to the wedding could be at the centre of the shooting.
A spokesman for Mehajer denied any suggestion of a falling-out between the two notorious families.
The attack was "certainly brazen. We believe that the attack is certainly not random," Inspector Bradfield Peters told reporters at Merrylands Police Station.
As guests arrived for the wedding on Saturday evening, marked and unmarked police vehicles patrolled the area for fear of further violence during the nuptials, AAP reported.
Luxury cars lined the streets surrounding the houses during what appeared to be a low-key event.
A photo of the happy couple released by another of the Mehajer sisters, Kat Sakalaki, showed Aisha in a lace-topped off-the-shoulder white bridal dress, smiling next to her new husband, who is wearing a white shirt, light blue jacket, and dark jeans with a rip in one knee.
FELLED BY A BULLET
Ngata, 59, was felled by a bullet at 10.45pm Friday as preparations for the wedding continued in the backyard of Ibrahim's childhood home.
It's believed Ngata, who lives nearby, was helping set up tables and chairs.
Insp. Peters said the gunman may have snuck onto the property through a side fence before firing the shot in the backyard.
A car was set alight in nearby Rees Street at Mays Hill shortly after the attack, however a police spokeswoman said no link had been confirmed.
Ngata has been a long-time trusted bodyguard of the Ibrahim family and was described in Mr Ibrahim's autobiography, released this year, as "the last of his kind: the old-school real tough men".
"Even blood couldn't make us closer," Mr Ibrahim wrote.
His brothers, Fadi and Michael, and his son, Daniel, are currently before the NSW courts accused of being involved in an international tobacco and drug-smuggling conspiracy.
Ibrahim's model girlfriend, Sarah Budge, is facing firearms and ammunition charges following a series of organised raids and arrests across Sydney and the United Arab Emirates in August.
The Merrylands house has been the site of several drive-by shootings, including that of Ibrahim's older brother Sam, who was shot standing in the driveway in 2011.
It was also raided this year as part of the August police operations, with officers recovering a handgun, but no charges were laid.