ACT police find knife allegedly used to stab Canberra Comanchero leader at Kokomo’s bar

ACT Policing detectives have found the knife they believe was used in the stabbing death of Canberra Comanchero commander Pitsoni Ulavalu last month.

Police said the knife was located about 300 metres from the last known location of the person they believe was responsible for the murder.

Mr Ulavalu died after he was stabbed in the neck during a brawl at Canberra nightspot Kokomo’s in the early hours of July 19.

Today ACT police’s criminal investigations boss Detective Superintendent Scott Moller announced officers had found the alleged murder weapon.

“We’ve discovered the weapon we believe was used to commit the murder,” he said.

“On Thursday, in the first few hours of a search that we were conducting, a knife was recovered from a storm water drain in Turner.

Detective Superintendent Moller said the knife was undergoing a forensic examination, as were “a multitude of other items” police located.

“To follow up the three arrests we made last week with the discovery of the knife is a positive endorsement of our investigative strategy for this case,” he said.

“This search was targeted. And the investigation is continuing.”

Pitasoni Ulavalu wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket.
Pitasoni Ulavalu was the Comanchero Canberra commander.(Supplied: Facebook)

Detective Superintendent Moller said hundreds of witnesses had been interviewed and CCTV scanned, in a joint investigation which has involved nearly 30 officers.

He said police were putting in a huge effort to bring those involved to justice.

“This is a horrific incident that happened in public view and as police we are not going to stand and let this happen in our community,” he said. 

“This investigation is still ongoing and I believe we will make further arrests and there will be further charges laid.

“We will continue to do everything we can to put the people before the courts.”

Police are seeking dash cam footage from anyone who was travelling through streets to the west of Northbourne Avenue, between Barry Drive and Wakefield Avenue, Turner, between 12:00am and 1:00am on Sunday July 19.

Anyone with footage can contact ACT Policing Operations on 131 444.

Five charged in relation to bikie boss’s death

Kokomo's bar
Pitasoni Ulavalu, 48, died after being stabbed in the neck at Kokomo’s bar.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Last week 26-year-old Sydney man Frederick Tuifua faced the ACT Magistrates Court charged with Mr Ulavalu’s murder.

He has been remanded in custody in Canberra’s jail.

Four other people have also been charged with affray over their alleged role in the brawl inside the bar, including one man who is under police guard in the Canberra Hospital after suffering gunshot wounds.

Exactly how he got his injuries is now part of a separate investigation.

The final man charged with affray — a 26-year-old man whose name was supressed in the ACT Magistrates Court — was arrested on Wednesday after police searched his Red Hill home.

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Man facing murder charge over Canberra Comanchero leader Pitasoni Ulavalu’s stabbing at Kokomo’s

A 26-year-old man will face the ACT Magistrates Court tomorrow charged with the murder of Canberra Comanchero leader Pitasoni Ulavalu at Kokomo’s bar.

ACT Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan told ABC Radio Canberra that a man presented to Calvary Hospital last night with multiple gunshot wounds, accompanied by three other men.

Commissioner Gaughan said those three men were then taken into custody because they were wanted over the brawl at Kokomo’s in Canberra’s CBD.

Later this morning police confirmed that one of the three men would be charged with murder and the other two men, a 22-year-old and a 23-year-old, were expected to be charged with affray.

Canberra Comanchero commander Pitasoni Ulavalu, 48, died after being stabbed in the neck at the Civic nightspot in the early hours of July 19.

Police were called to Kokomo’s on the corner of Genge and Bunda streets at 12:05am after reports of a “disturbance”.

Officers confirmed at the time that the altercation began within Kokomo’s before Mr Ulavalu, 48, was found dead outside.

Mr Ulavalu had been stabbed in the neck.

Police flag further arrests and charges

Pitasoni Ulavalu wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket.
Pitasoni Ulavalu was the Comanchero Canberra commander.(Supplied: Facebook)

ACT Policing’s criminal investigations boss Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said the three men who had been arrested had links to the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang.

“Some are ACT residents, but some reside interstate,” Superintendent Moller said.

He said investigation into Mr Ulavalu’s murder was continuing.

“There are over 200 witnesses that we need to interview, hours of CCTV footage to be reviewed,” Superintendent Moller said.

“We’ve been looking at a group of men for some time and the opportunity at the hospital presented itself and he was arrested.

Superintendent Moller said there were about 35 outlaw motorcycle gang members currently known to police in the ACT.

“It was only about 12 months ago that I said we had up to 70, so we’ve been working really hard to reduce those numbers,” he said.

“If you’re involved in outlaw motorcycle groups you should be concerned, because people involved in outlaw motorcycle gangs are being shot, are being stabbed and end up in jail.

“But as a general member of our community, Canberra is a very safe city and I wouldn’t be concerned.”

On ABC Radio Canberra this morning Commissioner Gaughan said police were “also investigating” the incident overnight that led to a man sustaining gunshot wounds.

“We don’t know much about the actual shooting but we had a male present himself to Calvary Hospital late last night with some gunshot wounds,” Commissioner Gaughan said.

“He was brought in by three male persons … wanted for the affray at Kokomo’s a couple of weeks ago.”

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Canberra bikie denied bail over alleged violent reaction to Kokomo’s brawl that killed Comancheros gang leader

A Canberra bikie who threatened police after his gang leader was killed in a bar brawl has been refused bail.

Jaymie Leam Turner, 30, applied for bail when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday on charges of affray and making a threat to kill.

His boss, Canberra Comanchero commander Pitasoni Ulavalu, 48, died after a fight at Civic nightspot Kokomo’s in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Pitasoni Ulavalu with another man
Pitasoni Ulavalu was the Comancheros Canberra commander.(Supplied: Facebook)

Bikie allegedly threatened to kill police

The court today heard Mr Turner had been drinking at his home in Kaleen in Canberra’s north when he received a call about the fight.

He rushed to Civic and was allegedly stopped when he attempted to enter a police cordon around the crime scene.

Court documents said Mr Turner was agitated and aggressive and pointed a finger in the face of police and screamed: “I’ll f***ing break your nose, c***.”

Police said an officer put a hand on his chest to prevent him from entering the cordon, when he allegedly swung his right arm and hand towards police, and pushed an officer in the chest.

The documents allege later, about 12:25am, someone else on the street called out to Mr Turner and he then punched the person in the face.

He was arrested and taken to the ACT Watch House.

Police said about 4:00am, Mr Turner was told of Mr Ulavalu’s death.

Soon after, when he was told he would not be granted police bail, he allegedly threatened to shoot one of the police officers and injure his partner and children.

In court on Monday, Magistrate Louise Turner refused Mr Turner bail, saying the court could not be confident he could comply with bail conditions.

He is expected to be back in court in August.

Police around Kokomo's bar
Forensic police examine blood on a car outside Kokomo’s.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Meanwhile, ACT Policing has today continued its investigations into Mr Ulavalu’s death, including reviewing CCTV and other footage of the incident and interviewing witnesses.

A number of short clips of a bar and a floor covered in blood have been circulated around Canberra.

“ACT Policing would like to thank the public for their assistance in providing information so far. This information is valuable in helping police in an ongoing investigation,” police said in a statement.

Police have called for anyone with recordings of the brawl to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Canberra Comancheros bikie gang leader Pitasoni Ulavalu killed in fight at Kokomo’s bar

The Canberra leader of the Comancheros bikie gang has died in a fight at a bar in the city’s CBD overnight.

Police were called to Kokomo’s on the corner of Genge and Bunda streets at 12:05am after reports of a “disturbance”.

A 48-year-old man died at the scene.

ABC sources have confirmed the man was Comancheros Canberra commander Pitasoni Ulavalu.

Pitasoni Ulavalu with another man
Pitasoni Ulavalu was the Comancheros Canberra commander.(Supplied: Facebook)

The ABC also understands he was stabbed inside and died outside the venue.

Detective Acting Superintendent Matthew Reynolds confirmed the altercation started within Kokomo’s before a man was found dead outside.

“We haven’t determined the cause of death at this time,” he said.

“We will forensically investigate that and there will be a post-mortem investigation.”

A second man was injured and treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to hospital.

“The second man has non-life-threatening injuries and we will be speaking to him when we are able to,” Detective Reynolds said.

Detective Reynolds said police were investigating links to outlaw motorcycle gangs.

He said police were also investigating reports that a brawl developed within the venue.

“There is CCTV of the incident and there were quite a number of people involved in the disturbance at the licenced premises,” he said.

Police around Kokomo's bar
Forensic police examine blood on a car outside Kokomo’s.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Police are appealing to anyone who was at the bar at the time to come forward, and believe some patrons recorded the incident on their mobile phones.

“There were a number of patrons and witnesses in the premises at the time … and we’re asking anyone who has video or CCTV or phone images in relation to this incident to contact ACT Policing,” Detective Reynolds said.

No one has been charged at this stage.

The area around the bar remains cordoned off and there were emotional scenes this morning as family and friends of the victim visited the location.

Kokomo’s reopened less than a month ago after closing due to the coronavirus lockdown.

It is the second death at a licenced venue this month, after Warren Hordpenko died in a fight at the Kingston Hotel.

Detective Reynolds said although the incidents were not related, the two deaths were “concerning”.

“We’re taking this very seriously, two people have lost their lives and we’re putting all our resources into investigating that,” he said.

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