Drive-by shooting at California Gully home shocks family

A California Gully family were the victims of a drive-by shooting on Friday night with bullets slamming into the wall of the children’s bedroom as they slept inside.

Father Billy Thow was asleep when he heard a loud bang about 10.30pm that he put down to a car back-firing.

It was only when his wife Bonnie went out to her car the next morning that she saw the damage.

Police believe a car had pulled up outside the house and fired a single shot at the garage, with pellets breaking the back windscreen of the Thow’s car and penetrating the garage roller door.

The pellets that entered the garage lodged in the wall of one of the children’s bedrooms.

“If it had been a more powerful gun it would have gone into the kids’ room,” Mr Thow said.

The Thows are frightened and confused by the incident as they are a young family with no enemies.

“We don’t have any problems with anyone, we just keep to ourselves,” Mr Thow said.

Detective Senior Constable Tom Harper said police were investigating if the shooting had been a case of mistaken identity.

There are several similar looking houses along the stretch of Averys Road where the Thows live.

“We are at a loss as to a motive for what occurred,” Senior Detective Harper said.

“By all accounts the occupants of the house are quiet living and don’t cause any trouble.

“We don’t believe it was random because that car has stopped and with intention fired at this house. It was a very deliberate act.”

Senior Detective Harper said police were concerned by the incident, but believed it was a one-off occurrence.

Mr Thow said the situation was “unbelievable”.

“We all slept in the lounge last night because the kids were that frightened,” he said.

“Bonnie and the kids didn’t want to be here, but with our finances at the moment we can’t afford to move.”

Bendigo police spent much of Saturday processing the scene and bullet fragments have been sent away for testing.

Senior Detective Harper said neighbours reported hearing a car revving at the time but so far no one has seen the vehicle. 

“Anyone with any knowledge of the incident or anyone who was travelling along that road at around that time is asked to come forward to police,” he said.

Bendigo police can be contacted on 5448 1300 or call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.

Aftermath: Billy Thow shows the damage caused to his garage door and car. Picture: JULIE HOUGH

Aftermath: Billy Thow shows the damage caused to his garage door and car. Picture: JULIE HOUGH


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