SYDNEY (Reuters) – A shooter outside a nightclub in the Australian city of Melbourne inflicted "terrible damage" killing a security guard and injuring three men, police said Sunday, but there was no suggestion that attacks were terrorist-related .
Australia has some of the world's toughest pistol control laws adopted after the worst mass murder when a pistol killed 35 people in Port Arthur in Tasmania's eastern state in 1996.
Sunday's shooting took place around 10 am. the lively entertainment area of Melbourne's southeastern suburb of Prahran, police said.
Three security guards and a man queuing were taken to the hospital with shots at shots, police said at a television press conference in Melbourne.
"It seems that shots have been discharged from a car in this area to a crowd standing outside the nightclub," said murder inspector Andrew Stamper.
The victims suffered "terrible damage" from a firearm nearby, he added.
A guard died in the hospital, another man was in critical condition and two escaped life-threatening injuries. One guard was shot in the face, the age newspaper said.
But there was no suggestion that the attack was terror-related, a political spokeswoman said by phone. Detectors are expected to investigate the relationship between an illegal motorcycle gang and the club, aged said.
Bloodstained clothing and ball bearings blasted the street outside the entrance to the second-storey Love Machine nightclub at the beginning of Sunday.
Police urged witnesses who saw a vehicle moving at speed about 3:00 to arrive and referred to a black Porsche SUV which was later found burned out in the northern Melbourne suburb of Wollert.
No arrests have yet been made and the investigation continues.
A murder suicide last year in Western Australia, killing seven family members, was the country's worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur case.
Neighboring New Zealand has passed legislation to ban semi-automatic firearms and assault rifles after its worst pact of peace in March, killing 50 worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch city.
Alison Bevege's reporting in SYDNEY and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Clarence Fernandez