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A man has been charged after allegedly pursuing another vehicle in a high-speed chase in Melbourne’s west that ended with his friend being shot dead beside him in the passenger seat of a stolen BMW.
Harley Guerra, 22, appeared in court on Friday charged with multiple offences – including conduct endangering life, dangerous driving and car theft – after he chased a Mitsubishi sedan through Taylors Hill on Sunday, leaving its occupants “petrified and fearing for their lives” according to court documents.
After the Mitsubishi crashed into bollards separating Grange Terrace and Johnston Way in Taylors Hill in an attempt to escape from Guerra’s BMW, an occupant emerged and fired a sawn-off shotgun through the BMW’s windscreen.
Craigieburn man Aymon Fatho, 31, who was Guerra’s passenger in the BMW, was shot in the chest.
Police say Guerra, from Roxburgh Park in Melbourne’s north, then drove a short distance, called triple zero and knocked on a nearby door, before fleeing the area on foot.
CCTV footage of a person at the scene of the Taylors Hill shooting.Credit: Nine News
Emergency services found a wounded Fatho alone in the BMW on Vaucluse Boulevard in Taylors Hill about 11.30pm on Sunday. Paramedics treated him, but he died at the scene.
Police believe Guerra – who appeared in the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on Friday – broke into a Mulgrave mechanic early Sunday morning and stole the BMW, which was one of 28 cars reported stolen from the business.
Later that day, Fatho approached the Mitsubishi in a Caroline Springs car park. Fatho had earlier fallen out with the two occupants of the car, and he kicked and punched the Mitsubishi before it drove out of the car park.
Police allege Fatho ran back to the BMW, and Guerra, who was on bail, gave chase, ramming the Mitsubishi at least three times, at one point causing the fleeing vehicle to spin around.
At another point during the 15-minute pursuit, the occupants of the Mitsubishi thought they were being shot at after one of them heard metal hit the boot, according to police court documents.
The chase ended when the Mitsubishi crashed into the bollards at Taylors Hill and the BMW pulled up behind it. The pair who fled the Mitsubishi heard an occupant of the BMW yell abusive threats before the fatal confrontation, according to police.
Guerra was arrested on Thursday afternoon after police intercepted him in a stolen Volkswagen SUV in Mulgrave.
Guerra was bailed earlier this year after being charged with multiple stolen vehicle, driving and firearm offences.
He did not apply for bail on Friday when charged with offences connected to the Taylors Hill pursuit, and will face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on May 30.
Aymon Fatho, the victim of this week’s Taylors Hill shooting.Credit: Facebook
A 42-year-old Caroline Springs man, who police believe shot Fatho, surrendered to authorities on Tuesday, but was released pending further enquiries. Detectives have also spoken with his passenger.
After Fatho was identified as the victim earlier this week, his friends remembered him as a happy soul who always had a smile on his face.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has dashcam footage or information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au.
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