A 79-year-old man accused of shooting a lawyer in the groin was described as a “gentle old man” by shocked neighbors on the quiet south Sydney street where he cares for his sick wife and lives with his adult son, as new details . emerge on his background.
Police allege that Sinve Vulic, 79, entered the ninth floor offices of Van Cooney Lawyers on Castlereagh Street in Sydney’s CBD at 12.50pm on Wednesday, brandishing a gun and carrying a bag containing It contained a sawed-off M1 carbine semi-automatic rifle.
Vulic is alleged to have calmly asked to speak to the company’s director, Van Cooney, before shooting him in the groin with the pistol.
A handful of brave office workers, including the wounded 77-year-old Cooney, tackled Vulic to the ground and restrained him until police arrived three minutes later.
Police allege Sinve Vulic (pictured) shot a law firm boss in the groin on Wednesday afternoon.
Neighbors on the quiet Illawong street, where he has lived with his wife and adult son for almost 30 years, described him as a “gentle old man” (pictured: Vulic’s $1.65 million home) .
Vulic has been charged with shooting with intent to murder, as well as six weapons-related offences.
He has not yet entered a plea and remains in custody. Police allege it was a personal dispute, although the details are a mystery.
The shocking outbreak of alleged violence in the heart of Sydney’s legal district came as a complete surprise to Vulic’s neighbors on the quiet, tree-lined Illawong street where he has lived for almost 30 years.
A neighbor said he had heard police raid the home Wednesday night, but had no idea it was related to the alleged shooting in the city.
‘It’s lovely. “He speaks minimal English, but every time we see him mowing the lawn or gardening, my kids go up to him and say hello,” he said.
Another neighbor, a few doors up, said Vulic was taking care of his wife Kata, who was unwell.
“He’s just a kind old man,” the neighbor said.
Van Cooney, 77, (pictured) was allegedly shot inside a law firm building in Sydney’s inner city on Wednesday afternoon.
Police allege the gunman asked to speak to Cooney (pictured) at his law office on Wednesday afternoon before shooting him in the groin.
‘He walks and visits friends on another street. I spoke to him at our neighbor’s funeral and he seemed charming. I don’t know any other side of him.
Vulic was born in Croatia and emigrated to Australia in 1967, marrying three years later.
He was a carpenter by trade, but a back injury he suffered in 1982 left him unemployed.
In 1995, he became bankrupt as a result of a costs order made against him in a failed Workers’ Compensation proceeding initiated by him for his back injury.
Vulic’s two oldest children helped him and his wife buy the current family home.
Vulic’s adult son, Robert, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Police officers responded to the scene of the alleged shooting within three minutes.
The suburban street, where the median home price tops $1.5 million, is several hundred meters from the banks of the Georges River.
All the neighbors Daily Mail Australia spoke to did not know Vulic by name, despite the family having lived there for almost three decades.
They are an older couple. “I think they are Macedonian or Croatian,” added a neighbor.
“He’s always quite friendly and says hello, but they keep to themselves.”
Vulic’s lawyer appeared at Downing Center Local Court on Thursday morning and requested that his client receive medical assistance.
Magistrate Ian Guy said all defendants are being vetted. Vulic will appear soon in May.
His alleged victim, Mr. Cooney, is expected to make a full recovery.
New South Wales Police Detective Inspector David El-Badawi praised the clerks who subdued Vulic after the alleged shooting.
“The people inside the office were very brave,” Detective El-Badawi said.
“They held the offender until the police arrived.”
Daily Mail Australia spoke to an office worker who confirmed he had helped subdue the alleged gunman, but declined to comment further.
Detective El-Badawi described the alleged shooting as “isolated.”
Inspector Dominic Wong of NSW Ambulance said officers provided first aid to Mr Cooney.
“I think the projectile had entered his body; it was not a scratch. But when we arrived at the scene he was not actively bleeding,” Inspector Wong told reporters.
‘He was in stable condition. All of his vital signs were within normal limits.