ON THIS DAY – FEBRUARY 24, 1999

HOPPERS CROSSING

Damian Catania was the victim of a drive-by shooting about 6am on the 24th of February. Catania was waiting outside his home in Hoppers Crossing in Melbourne’s western suburbs for a regular lift to work when an early model white Commodore slowed as it cruised by. A gunman in the car, reputedly Andrew Veniamin, opened fire, hitting Catania at least four times in the legs and groin. Catania, a mid-level “player” in the underworld was an ex-boxer who had a string of minor convictions, mostly for violence. Catania almost lost a leg as a result of the shooting and spent 12 months in hospital recovering. Those in the car were never caught. On Monday 22 May 2006 Catania, then 30, was sentenced to a minimum of six years jail for pouring petrol over a man who had annoyed him and setting the victim alight, causing horrific burns. Not surprisingly, Catania told the court that on his eventual release from jail, he wanted to “pack up and travel out of Melbourne”.