Mick Hawi’s wife ‘always feared that phone call’
THE urgent voice at the other end of the phone wasted no words: "It's Mick … He's been shot, meet me outside, I'll pick you up."
Carolina Gonzalez, the wife of former Comanchero gang president Mick Hawi, had been living in dread of the call for years and when it finally came - from a trusted relative - she "felt numb".
"I started shaking, my body went into shock, I kept telling myself he was going to be OK. I ran like a crazy person through Rockdale Plaza with the baby in the pram, I always feared that phone call," she told The Daily Telegraph in an exclusive interview.
She arrived at St George Hospital in Kogarah at the same time as her husband, who she always called Mike, and embraced him as his last breaths left his body.
"Irrespective of the life Mike led prior to going to jail, his killing wasn't justified - the shooter played God that day, it was not his role," the 38-year-old said.
"He not only ruined our lives, he ruined his own."
Hawi, former national leader of one of Australia's most notorious outlaw motorcycle groups, was shot at point-blank range by a masked hitman as he sat outside a Rockdale gym in his black Mercedes-Benz at noon on February 15.
The assassin appeared at the car door, aimed his 45 automatic Colt Desert Eagle pistol through the half-open window, and emptied bullets into Hawi's neck and head.
One pierced the back of his skull sending him into cardiac arrest.
The luxury car then jerked as his foot slammed the accelerator, his body slumped over the steering wheel.
Lone Wolf bikies Yusuf Nazlioglu, 37, to whom Hawi was once a role model, and Ahmed "Adam" Doudar, 38, were arrested two weeks ago and charged over their alleged roles in the murder.
Investigators untangling the complex murder plot are probing whether Hawi was assassinated as payback for his past sins, in a revenge attack by an organised crime group, or simply for cash.
Ms Gonzalez wants to say something to whoever killed her husband: "You all know Mike would have met up with you and looked you in the eyes if you had asked - why do it that way?
"The shooter and everyone involved are cowards for organising to kill my husband, the father to my children. They will never feel the pain they have caused us. My middle child, who's nine, asks me: 'Mummy, who killed Dad?'"
The Chilean-born mother of three admits her husband was no angel, but says he was a changed man.
Hawi was himself convicted of murder over the 2009 Sydney Airport brawl in which Hells Angels bikie Anthony Zervas was stabbed and bludgeoned to death with a bollard.
But the charge was downgraded to manslaughter on appeal and he walked out of jail after six years.
Ms Gonzalez - petite and glamorous in a grey T-shirt, jeans and Gucci trainers - chooses to remember her husband as the "family man" devoted to their three sons, 14, nine and 22 months.
She claims he had called for peace between the warring gangs caught up in the turf fight at the domestic terminal - that turned out to be over money and drugs - and did not personally take part in the violence.
"I'm not naive, I know the life my husband lived, I'm not saying he was an angel, but he turned his life around after prison. Prison taught him that life was not worth losing time," Ms Gonzalez said.
"When he came out he did a 360 and was done. And when he was done he was done. Even before jail he changed his circle of friends and grew out of life with the Comanchero."
Hawi did not step back into his role with the Comanchero and was not, publicly at least, a member.
He once travelled in bulletproof cars after a previous attack, when assassins peppered his vehicle with bullets as he drove past Grappa Ristorante in Leichhardt in 2007. But when he died he did not have the protection of security guards.
Born in war-torn Beirut, Hawi had emigrated, aged five, with his brother and two sisters to Australia, settling in Bexley, south Sydney, where he attended Hurstville Boys High School.
Across the road was Bethany College where he first set eyes on Carolina when they were just 15. He would meet her at the train station and walk her to school, until she agreed to date him.
"We grew up together, I was with him for 23 years, I loved him, he's all I knew," said Ms Gonzalez, crying. "My older son won't go to school and our 22-month-old still cries for his daddy … all I have are videos to calm him. Our lives will never be the same."