Just before 8.45pm on December 12, 2020, a single bullet tore through the air at the Perth Motorplex, in the city’s south, amid the roar of spectators and revving engines.
Shot from a high-precision rifle, it zoomed across the bitumen tracks, grazing the body a five-year-old boy and hitting former Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin in the chest, before striking the arm of former Bandidos member Ricky Chapman, who was sitting behind him.
Martin collapsed as panicked spectators scrambled to flee the speedway, fearing the shooter would pull the trigger again.
Paramedics desperately tried to save the 51-year-old in front of horrified onlookers but he died in Rockingham Hospital shortly after.
“I tried, we tried so hard to keep you alive dad,” Martin’s step-daughter Stacey Schoppe, who was sitting with him on the stand, later said.
“This is one of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve ever witnessed.”
The brazen killing sent shockwaves through Perth and triggered the largest crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs in years, amid fears retaliation attacks and friction between the groups could ignite a bikie war.
More than 100 officers were assigned to a special police unit created for the express purpose of investigating the shooting. Taskforce Ravello raided the clubhouses and homes of gang members and associates, charging 102 people with 267 offences and seizing more than 50 firearms.
But three months after the shooting, police had no news on the identity of the sniper, as tensions between rival gangs continued to rise.
More than 400 mourners farewelled Martin in a flamboyant funeral at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park, in Perth’s north, on December 23.
Curious members of the public watched on as 200 patched Rebels members gathered outside Purslowe & Chipper funeral home in North Perth before the rumbling motorbike procession escorted Martin’s coffin down Scarborough Beach Road, flanked by a dozen police cars and under the watchful eye of a police sniper in a helicopter above.
The 51-year-old’s coffin, decorated with prints of $100 bills and the confederate flag, was carried in on a red carpet under a guard of honour as Bob Dylan’s Hurricane played through the speakers.
Friends and family took turns to share their tributes to Martin, who they described as a doting father and a “cuddly teddy bear” who had a sweet tooth and loved making trifle.
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