Homicide Squad detectives are looking at whether an earlier altercation at the same property was used as a cover by those responsible for the fatal shooting of Chris Habiyakare in Sunshine North in August.
Chris was killed at his Essex Street home shortly after 8.30pm on Tuesday, 24 August.
He had been at home with a group of friends when the offending group knocked on the door and confronted Chris.
No one else was physically injured during the incident and police believe that Chris was specifically targeted.
Three days earlier, on 21 August, an altercation took place at the same address and detectives last week appealed for information to determine who was involved in the earlier matter and whether it was linked to Chris’ death.
Since then, police have received information and interviewed a number of people involved in the incident on the 21 August.
Detectives have now ruled out any links between that matter and Chris’ death.
Investigators are now exploring whether the offending group was aware of this altercation and potentially used it as a reason to target Chris and avoid detection.
While detectives still believe this was a targeted incident, the exact motive for the shooting is yet to be determined.
Police are keen to hear from anyone who is aware of any issues or disagreements Chris may have had with anyone prior to his death, no matter how minor they may seem.
A firearm located by police at an unrelated incident earlier this month is currently being further forensically tested by the Ballistics Unit as a number of characteristics of this weapon appear to match the information gathered from the scene of Chris’ shooting.
Police are confident this will be the firearm involved and are hopeful of obtaining further forensic avenues of enquiry from this testing.
Investigators are also releasing CCTV footage of a vehicle seen driving along Essex Street on the night of the shooting.
The hatchback is seen driving along the street about 8.15pm and police are looking at whether this vehicle is linked to the offenders.
Last week Homicide Squad detectives released two images in an effort to identify two men believed to be linked to the incident, and they are again appealing to anyone who can identify these men to come forward.
They are also appealing for the men themselves to contact police.
Detectives remain keen to speak to anyone else who may have knowledge of the incidents or the circumstances leading up to the shooting.
A significant CCTV canvas of the area has been conducted, however anyone in the area who has footage from between 5pm and 10pm on 24 August and is yet to speak to police is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.
Police would also like to hear from anyone travelling through the area around that time who may have dash-cam footage.
Anyone with footage or information about the incident is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or log onto www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
Quotes attributed to Detective Inspector Tim Day:
“Following last week’s appeal we have received further information that has allowed us to significantly progress this investigation and narrow in on who is involved.
“Importantly, information now allows us to confidently dispel any connection between the altercation on 21 August and the incident where Chris was shot and killed.
“Based on the information we’ve received, it’s becoming increasingly likely that the actual group responsible for Chris’ death was aware of the previous now unrelated altercation and has tried to take advantage of it.
“We believe they have most likely attempted to use it as a cover to throw off any suspicious on them in terms of what has happened to Chris. This is why, as I said last week, prudence demands investigators always keep an open mind.
“At this stage we still believe a group of between 4-6 males attended Chris’ home that night, however it is possible that not all of those involved wanted to kill Chris or were aware he was going to be shot.
“Now is the time for those people to come forward and tell their side of the story – get in first as this may be the only opportunity you get.
“Of particular importance now is that we have a vehicle of interest in addition to the images of two men. And we now have a firearm that is being forensically tested.
“There is no doubt we are getting closer to discovering who is responsible for Chris’ death and why. It is truly now, just a matter of time.
“We received a significant amount of information following our appeal last week and I’m again asking anyone with knowledge about Chris’ death to come forward.
“This includes anyone who can identify the vehicle and the two men we have released images of.
“Investigators are also keen to speak to anyone who has any information about parties who may have has some kind of issue or disagreement with Chris at any time over the past 12 months.
“It doesn’t matter how innocuous or irrelevant that issue might have been, it could potentially provide the key to progressing this investigation.
“Anyone with information is urged to come forward and speak to police or contact Crime Stoppers.”