Mob hit suspected in TA nightclub shooting

Sagi Or and Refael Ronen killed by gun-wielding motorcyclist outside club; 3 more wounded.

crime scene 88 (photo credit: )
crime scene 88
(photo credit: )
Despite a partial gag order imposed hours after two men were gunned down outside a South Tel Aviv nightclub early Wednesday morning, there was much speculation as to whether the murders of Sagi Or, 33, and Rafael Ronen, 52, were a result of mistaken identity, a disgruntled clubber or yet another instance of settling scores in Israel's underworld. The two Haifa residents were killed by a motorcyclist outside the "Night" nightclub on Tel Aviv's Rehov Hatzfira. Three other people were wounded in the drive-by shooting, one of whom remains in serious condition. Or died shortly thereafter, following an attempt by Magen David Adom personnel to resuscitate him, while Ronen died several hours later in the hospital. Three suspects were arraigned in the shooting. Or was a well-known figure on the Tel Aviv clubbing scene. He owned the "Best" security company, used by many clubs and bars in South Tel Aviv. Friends said it was possible that someone had decided to "settle a score" with Or after he or one of his employees had denied the shooter entry to a club or private party. At the arraignment of suspects, whose identities could not be reported due to the gag order, police suggested they were settling a score from a fight that took place Sunday outside of the same nightclub. Then, Or allegedly injured two of the suspects, one of whom required stitches. But with the gag order still in place, alternate scenarios circulated, particularly among observers of Israel's violent criminal underworld. Drive-by attacks by motorcyclists are favored by all but the highest echelons of organized crime. There are currently at least two unsolved cases involving similar attacks in the Tel Aviv area, both of which are suspected to be mob-related. And one of those cases occurred just outside of a corner store owned by Ronen. If this was a professional hit, the price tag would be in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of shekels - a hefty bill for a disgruntled clubber. Wednesday's incident was the latest in a burst of violence at Tel Aviv-area meeting places. Or had previously complained about the lack of a police presence and the feeling of lawlessness in Tel Aviv's clubbing districts.