Was shooting a bizarre accident?


A GOLD Coast bodybuilder who has been targeted by the state's anti-bikie taskforce was last night in custody after the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend in what police say could have been a bizarre but terrible accident.

Ivona Jovanovic, 27, was shot in the chest at the Highland Park home of her ex Christos Panagakos, an alleged associate of the notorious Barbaro underworld family, on Sunday night.

She was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital but died soon after.

Panagakos was among several people who allegedly fled after the shooting but was arrested by police guarding the Renfrew Dr house when he returned from surrounding bushland about 1am yesterday.

Shooting victim Ivona Jovanovic. Picture: Supplied
Shooting victim Ivona Jovanovic. Picture: Supplied

He spent most of yesterday being questioned by detectives.

No charges had been laid last night.

Police from anti-gangs squad Taskforce Maxima are involved in the investigation however police do not believe the shooting is bikie-related.

Panagakos was jailed for drug and weapons offences in 2016 after what police alleged was his involvement in a 'criminal network'.

His co-accused was Rossario Dom Barbaro - a brother of slain Sydney mafia enforcer Pasquale Barbaro and Gold Coast-based alleged Villains gang member Harley Barbaro.

Rossario Barbaro killed himself last year while visiting his mother on the Gold Coast soon after Pasquale was shot dead in western Sydney.

Christos Panagakos. Picture: Facebook
Christos Panagakos. Picture: Facebook

Despite having broken up with Panagakos, police say he and Jovanovic remained good friends and were preparing to go out for the evening when she was shot.

Detective Acting Superintendent Brendan Smith said police did not believe the shooting was domestic violence-related but an accident had not been ruled out.

However, he said the weapon allegedly used was not believed to have been licensed and 'this is a clear example of where things go wrong'.

"We certainly don't believe there's any suggestion that it's bikie-related but the people who are involved have got links to (bikie) clubs," he said.

Police at the crime scene at Renfrew Drv, Highland Park. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Police at the crime scene at Renfrew Drv, Highland Park. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Det Supt Smith slammed as 'disgraceful' those who left Ms Jovanovic to die and called on them to come forward to 'give their versions'.

"While they called the ambulance, there's a lot of first-aid that could have been rendered at the time that may or may not have made a difference … we'll lever know," he said.

Friends flooded Ms Jovanovic's social media accounts with tributes describing her as 'a beautiful soul gone way too early' and an 'angel'.

Police are appealing for witnesses, particularly any with dashcam footage.