Kiwi killed in Melbourne gangland shooting

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
World,
Publish Date
Thursday, 7 March 2019, 7:57p.m.
Ben Togiai, a Samoan-Kiwi, was brought up in South Auckland. (Photo / Facebook)
Ben Togiai, a Samoan-Kiwi, was brought up in South Auckland. (Photo / Facebook)

A Kiwi man shot dead outside a boxing match in Melbourne last Friday is believed to have been caught "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Dramatic dashcam footage shows the shooting spree, which killed Ben Togiai, 33, and left two others fighting for their lives.

The group were ambushed as they left the boxing event at Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington at about 10pm.

The footage shows a man with a satchel slung over his shoulder running towards a confrontation unfolding across the street, just outside the pavilion's front door.

As the car gets closer a burst of three gunshots is heard, followed by another seconds later as people scatter for safety.

Meanwhile the man with the satchel runs back the way he came.

Further up the street, another volley of shots can be heard as people on the streets try to take cover, still unsure exactly what is going on.

 

Ben Togiai, 30, was gunned down outside a boxing event at the Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington about 10pm on Friday. Photo / Facebook

Ben Togiai, 30, was gunned down outside a boxing event at the Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington about 10pm on Friday. Photo / Facebook

In the space of 26 seconds, three men were shot – one lay dead and two others were badly hurt.

Togiai, a Samoan-Kiwi that was brought up in South Auckland, had gone to the event with colleagues from the construction industry.

His family said he was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The father of a 3-year-old daughter, was shot in the side of the chest and died at the scene.

Two other men, a 34-year-old from Lalor and a 32-year-old from Craigieburn, were both taken to hospital with gunshot wounds.

A nationwide manhunt is now underway for Abdullah El Nasher, 27, Ali El Nasher, 28, and Mikhael Myko, 25, who are believed to be the involved.

Police are also seeking a fourth man, who is yet to be identified.

Togiai's family and friends have taken to social media to pay tribute.

His wife, Shae Mccoullough, said she'd give anything to bring him back.

"How am I supposed to say good bye? How do I tell my little girl that daddy's not coming home?" she wrote.

"I'm so heartbroken and can't even begin to imagine how hard life is going to be without you!"

Ben Togiai left behind a three-year-old-daughter Alyssa. Photo / Facebook

Ben Togiai left behind a three-year-old-daughter Alyssa. Photo / Facebook

Mccoullough described how Togiai would no longer get to see their daughter, Alyssa, "grow, or see her on her first day of school, you won't be at any birthday parties or even get to walk her down the aisle".

Mccoullough said Togiai was a "one of a kind and an awesome dad".

"You were so kind and giving and you spent your life looking after everybody around you!

"People loved you for being the goofball that you were and the world is not gonna be the same without you!"

Togiai grew up in Otahuhu and went to Fairburn Primary and Otahuhu Intermediate schools.

He moved to Melbourne as a young teenager, and more recently lived in Craigieburn and worked in construction.

Mccoullough said he loved New Zealand and always loved coming back to visit.

A nationwide manhunt is underway for Abdullah El Nasher, 27, Ali El Nasher, 28, and Mikhael Myko, 25. Photo / Supplied

A nationwide manhunt is underway for Abdullah El Nasher, 27, Ali El Nasher, 28, and Mikhael Myko, 25. Photo / Supplied

First cousin Geraldine Faaeteete said Togiai's father was Samoan and his mother Kiwi. He also had two sisters.

"There is no photo you will find that Ben is not smiling from ear to ear," he said.

"He had two sisters that he would always protect and they were so close."

Faaeteete said Togiai's mother Ruth is currently fighting cancer, while his father Faatau "misses his only son".

"He was always happy and always wanted to be there for everyone else, that is why it is so hard knowing that he got murdered and no one was there for him," he said.

Faaeteete said Togiai was simply "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

"He went out for a good night with work colleagues and was shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - and we are still trying to find the murderers," he said.

Others have started a hashtag #justiceforben as police appeal to the public to help identify the whereabouts of the men wanted in connection with the shooting.

Victorian Police have said the men could be anywhere in Australia and that officers were looking "everywhere".

 

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