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 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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