Extraordinary security camera footage shows the brazen daylight assassination of a celebrity chauffeur as he pulled into an MMA gym with his 12-year-old son.
Luxury car driver Taha Sabbagh, 40, was shot at least six times in his Mercedes SUV shortly after arriving at the Elite Fight Force gym in Sefton, Sydney‘s south-west, about 6.30am on Thursday.
Security footage from a nearby premises shows a Mazda 3 lurking on the street outside the gym, before Mr Sabbagh arrives and his son opens the gate.
About 90 seconds after Mr Sabbagh parks his Mercedes SUV at the gym, a hooded man bursts out of the Mazda, runs towards the car and repeatedly opens fire.
CCTV footage has captured the final moments of a celebrity chauffeur pulling into the front of a gym before he was gunned down
Taha Sabbagh, 40, was shot at least six times in his Mercedes SUV as the vehicle sat outside the Elite Fight Force gym in Sefton, Sydney’s south-west, on Thursday
Three shots are fired through the front windshield and another three shots through the driver’s side.
Mr Sabbagh’s 12-year-old son is seen in the footage wearing a red T-shirt and standing by the car as he looks on in horror.
On Tuesday Mr Sabbagh’s cousin Bill told Daily Mail Australia that the boy is coping well despite witnessing his father’s bloody murder.
Bill said the young boy is handling the situation exceptionally and better than he imagines other children his age would: ‘He’s doing OK as can be.
‘We have just been trying to support him.
Brother-in-law Frank said Mr Sabbagh’s wife was also alright given the circumstances.
However, Frank said the couple’s two other kids, a 9-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl, are still too young to understand what happened.
‘We have a great community,’ Frank said. ‘We are just trying to stay strong.
‘We’ve just been here trying to support them [Mr Sabbagh’s wife and children] all and keep the kids busy and distracted.’
Mr Sabbagh’s 12-year-old son (right) is seen in the footage wearing a red t-shirt and standing by the car as he looks on in horror (left, alleged gunman)
Hillal Barbour (pictured right, with his brother Mounir, left) was fatally shot by police on Sunday
Mr Sabbagh is one of two members of the Elite Fight Force gym to be gunned down in the past week after a 29-year-old was shot by police on Sunday.
Hillal Barbour, 29, was shot by officers responding to a domestic violence call-out at a house in Yagoona, in Sydney’s south-west.
While investigators are treating the two shootings as separate incidents, Daily Mail Australia can exclusively reveal – in an extraordinary co-incidence – that members from both families use the gym and are friends with its owners, Hany Sbat and Adam Omar.
Shortly after Mr Sabbagh’s death, a police source gave a grim warning of further bloodshed on the streets of suburban Sydney.
Underworld sources told the Daily Telegraph Mr Sabbagh could have been targeted as payback for an incident where a jeweller was kidnapped and tortured for almost 24-hours.
The man was only released when a ransom of about $10million was paid.
In a horrific video of the man’s kidnapping last October, he is heard begging for help to be freed.
‘Whatever it is you can get off them, tell them I’ll pay them after. I’ll pay whatever it is, please I beg you get me out of here please,’ the man pleaded in the video.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest Mr Sabbagh was behind the kidnapping, but it is understood that his killing could have been a ‘warning sign’ to criminal gang members, some of whom train the Elite Fight Force gym.
Underworld sources told the Daily Telegraph Mr Sabbagh could have been targeted as payback for an incident where a jeweller was kidnapped and tortured for almost 24-hours
Barbour (right) was shot dead by officers responding to a domestic violence incident
‘Some of the crew at that gym were behind the kidnapping… this is a retaliation,’ an underworld source said.
‘They are some of the heaviest of heavy crooks at that gym… it will be on now, these boys will retaliate too.’
It is not suggested that the businessman, who is currently abroad, is involved in criminal activity or the killing of Mr Sabbagh, but he allegedly has links to some criminals willing to seek retaliation for him.
Paramedics desperately tried to revive Mr Sabbagh, who was a common presence at the MMA gym with his boy. He was unable to be saved and died at the scene.
NSW Police Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty said police believe the shooting was a ‘targeted attack’ but would investigate whether Mr Sabbagh was ‘the intended target’.
‘He was not well known to police, he was associated with some people who are well known to police and have strong criminal activity connected to them,’ he said.
Police believe at least two offenders fired the shots out of a Mazda 3. The car was later found burnt out at Birrong train station, nearby.
Superintendent Doherty said he believed the attack was isolated and confirmed the boy was unharmed.
‘The people that have perpetrated this murder have no regard for human life, knowing there was a 12-year-old boy in the car and still carrying out the execution in front of him,’ he said.