Murdered lawyer 'didn’t deserve to die like this’
GUNNED down lawyer Ho Ledinh's university friend - and sitting MP Shaoquett Moselmane - has told of his horror and learning of the man's murder in Bankstown, saying "he didn't deserve to die like this".
The NSW Opposition Whip was friends with the 65-year-old during their university days and had been shocked when told of the shooting.
"Ho, was a good father and a kind hearted man. He wanted to help his community and the community respected him," he told the Daily Telegraph.
"The news of his killing sickened me. I was shattered by it. He didn't deserve to die like this."
The 65-year-old lawyer was gunned down outside the Bankstown Happy Cup Cafe yesterday at 3.40pm.
Earlier today, the head of the Homicide Squad described the brutal daylight murder as a targeted act of pure "evil".
Detective Superintendent Scott Cook at the helm of Taskforce Eugene told The Daily Telegraph Mr Ledinh, 65, was specifically targeted by a shooter wearing a dark-coloured cap, high-visibility vest, dark pants and shoes, grey gloves and a raincoat that was either dark green or black.
The attacker fired three shots at point-blank range before fleeing on foot.
"All murder is evil and is not acceptable," he said. "We do not accept murders in this state or this country. This was deliberate and direct and obviously targeted and planned.
"We are confident it was targeted, not random. We are searching for motives at the moment and our focus is on speaking to witnesses and we have a number of lines of inquiry at the moment.
"The victim was a solicitor … he was a criminal solicitor and has a lot of clients engaged in organised crime offences so that is absolutely a line of inquiry.
"We are looking into ballistics and forensics but I am not at liberty to discuss that."
Police aren't aware of any threats received prior to the shooting and there was no concern about reprisal attacks, Det Supt Cook said.
In the effort to find a clue to the assassin's identity, police have emptied every bin in Bankstown Plaza in hopes of finding the water bottle he drank from minutes before he murdered his target.
Officers were photographed yesterday emptying bins and collecting every plastic water bottle near the scene after CCTV footage emerged of the gunman drinking a sip of water.
Investigators are hopeful the discarded bottle will shed light on the shooter's identity through fingerprints or DNA left behind.
It will be a mammoth task for forensic specialists who will need to test dozens of plastic bottles to find the killer.
The murder has sparked an outpouring of grief by locals, with one woman, Vivian Vo, sitting on the ground outside the Happy Cafe and placing her palm in the pool of dried blood on the pavement.
A friend tried to pull her away from the crime scene but she was paralysed with grief.
It is understand Mr Ledinh did legal work for a local Vietnamese news outlet, owned by Ms Vo's partner Huu Chi Nguyen, who was meeting with the lawyer at the cafe when he was shot.
A traditional Buddhist food tribute has also today been symbolically laid outside the murder scene.
A neighbouring florist, who laid the tribute, said it was "food for his travel up."
The Vietnamese woman, who did not wish to be identified, left oranges, coffee, snacks and burning incense next to the police tape only metres from the large blood stain that remains on the front step of the cafe.
The ancient Buddhist tradition of offering food to the departed has been practised for centuries and is a way of connecting with the spirit world and those who have been lost.
"When someone passes we always put down flowers and food and incense to see them off. It's traditional for Buddhists," local grocer Tran, 53, said. "Everybody has this when they go."
John Kuan, who runs the bakery across the road from the Happy Cup cafe, also laid down sultana danishes inside paper bags outside the crime scene this afternoon, as the memorial to Mr Ledinh grew.
He said the lawyer came into the bakery most days to order the treat, always in a paper bag.
"Whatever we can do to make him have peace," he said. "He was a regular customer, he always come in and order the danish."
Huu "Andy" Nguyen was sitting with his friend of more than two decades when the victim was shot multiple times by the unknown gunman.
"After three shots in his back he's standing up and he take one step, two step and after he lost balance and fell on the floor," he told channel ten.
Mr Nguyen said he didn't see the shooter's face at all and that he always thought something like this was possible due to his Ho's career as a criminal lawyer and his outspoken anti-Communist beliefs.
"I'm surprised, shocked but not frightened because I always prepared for something like that to happen," he said.
Today, police would not confirm whether the shooter used a getaway vehicle but encouraged witnesses to come forward with all information.
"The man responsible for the shooting is still at large, armed with a weapon," he said.
"If anyone knows the whereabouts of the offender please do not approach him."
Det Supt Cook urged the shooter to turn himself in.
"Hand yourself in," he said. "If you don't hand yourself in we are coming for you. We are going to hunt you down."
The shooter was described as having a Pacific Islander appearance and being of a medium build. Police believe he is still in possession of a handgun.
Taskforce Eugene was established this morning to investigate Mr Ledinh's murder.
A graphic social media video showed Mr Ledinh lying on his side on the footpath outside the cafe in a pool of blood.
The video shows police and passers-by attempting to revive him using CPR and mouth-to-mouth, but he died of his injuries.
Det Supt Cook thanked those who helped Mr Ledinh in the moments after the shooting.
"There was a number of people who rendered first aid to him and that was very admirable and I have to say that the co-operation from the community has been excellent," he said.
CCTV footage of the suspected shooter before the killing showed a man wearing a hi-vis jacket walking through Bankstown's Old Centre Plaza.
Several witnesses claimed the assailant shot Mr Ledinh and then ran away.
"He was shot three times," one witness, who asked not to be named, said.
"I saw him out of breath and people doing CPR. (The killer) ran towards the train station."
Bankstown resident Antonio Diaz said that after the shots were fired, he saw a man matching fellow witnesses' description of the gunman running to a nearby street where he was picked up by a car.
"I was on my balcony when I heard two or three gunshots. I looked over, and it was near the Commonwealth Bank. I saw people running around and stuff," he said.
"I was staring for a while and then I saw someone running through West Terrace and I think someone picked him up."
Phoung Lu, a co-owner of a nearby bakery, said after hearing the screaming of women and children she saw "a man in green chasing another man and someone called out: 'They are shooting! They are shooting!'."
However, the victim's shaken best friend Van Giang Nguyen, who had a coffee with Mr Ledinh yesterday morning, said he believed Mr Ledinh's career as a criminal lawyer may be linked to his murder.
"This job is a horrible job. It's good money but it's because of the job I think," he said.
He said Mr Ledinh had a wife and five children, ranging from young to adult, from two marriages.
Mr Nguyen said he was shocked to receive a phone call later in the day telling him his friend had been shot dead.
"For me he was perfect, he was a very good man and helped people a lot with their families," he told The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Ledinh was one of the solicitors who represented Philip Nguyen, the man jailed over the killing of Sydney police constable Bill Crews in 2010.