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Mafia figure Barbaro gunned down in Sydney

AAP logoAAP 14/11/2016 Andrew Leeson

Sydney crime figure Pasquale Barbaro's links to the Italian mafia have caught up to him brutally as he became the third member of his family executed in a gangland hit, a year after surviving an earlier attempt on his life.

Mr Barbaro is the fourth underworld figure killed in Sydney in the past eight months.

The 35-year-old was shot several times on Monday night after visiting the Earlwood home of underworld figure George Alex, who the unions royal commission had suggested be investigated for possible corruption over his construction industry dealings.

Mr Barbaro, who was due to face court in early December on drugs charges, was "born into the Calabrian mafia", according to author Keith Moor, whose book Busted examines the well-known family.

Moor speculates the mafia may have silenced Mr Barbaro because it was rumoured he had broken its code of omerta and become an informant for the NSW Crime Commission.

Mr Barbaro's grandfather, Peter Pasquale Barbaro, was gunned down in Brisbane in 1990 just before he was due to give evidence against almost 30 mafia figures.

His cousin Pat Barbaro was shot dead in a Melbourne car park in 2003 while his uncle - yet another Pasquale Barbaro from Griffith - was the kingpin in the world's biggest ecstasy bust in 2007.

The latter's father was a suspect in the murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay in 1977.

Neighbours on Monday night heard as many as eight shots followed by a man screaming for help.

"We heard the gunshots ... another maybe four gunshots and a couple of minutes later there was someone screaming," one woman said.

Residents reported seeing a car with three or four men wearing hoodies before the shooting and an Audi Q7 speeding away afterwards.

The possible getaway car was found burnt out in nearby Concord and is being examined by NSW Police.

A friend of Mr Barbaro, who asked to be identified only as Marco, said the victim was leaving Mr Alex's home when he was attacked.

"I still don't believe that he's dead until I see him," Marco said.

"He had a good heart - just because he did bad things doesn't make him a bad person."

Monday's slaying comes two weeks after another Sydney crime figure, Hamad Assaad, was shot dead outside his Georges Hall home.

Mr Barbaro survived a shooting in Leichhardt on November 9, 2015 and it's been suggested Mr Assaad pulled the trigger.

The 29-year-old was a key suspect in the execution of standover man Walid Ahmad at a Bankstown shopping centre in April.

That killing was thought to have been in retaliation for the shooting of Safwan Charbaji outside a nearby panel beater two weeks earlier.

NSW Police Superintendent David Johnson acknowledged associates might not be keen to speak with police after Mr Barbaro was killed.

"(But) given the sort of nefarious activities these people are engaged in, clearly it's in their best interests to come forward," he told reporters.

"These people [the shooters] are dangerous people."

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