Butterworth - A 19-year-old youth died after being shot thrice while visiting two friends, who were also shot, at Kampung Ujong Batu here.
M. Ravindran, who was hit in the abdomen, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Seberang Jaya Hospital following the 10pm incident on Saturday.
S. Leenesh, 18, was admitted to the same hospital while A. Sukumar, 51, from Kulim, Kedah received outpatient treatment.
North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said two men wearing full-faced helmets rode up to them in a motorcycle, and the pillion rider whipped out a pistol and opened fire.
"Three shots hit Ravindran and his friends were hit once each. One of the shots hit the back window of a Proton Wira parked nearby.
"We believe the shooting could be due to rivalry between two gangs in the area," he said at the scene.
ACP Abdul Rahman said checks showed that none of the victims had a criminal record, adding that the case was being investigated as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code.
"The assailant had used a semi-automatic pistol which was fired at close range. We have also recorded the statements of several witnesses."
Meanwhile, Ravindran's family friend, N. Suppiah, 54, said he was chatting with the deceased's father at his house about 600m from the scene when a neighbour told them that Ravindran had been gunned down.
"We quickly rushed there but Ravindran and his friends were already on their way to the hospital.
"Ravindran is a good person and I do not know who would want to do this to him. He was supposed to register at a private college in Kepala Batas on Sunday (yesterday)," he said.
Police are trying to determine whether the case is connected to an incident in Bukit Jambul where a four-year-old boy was shot in the leg and a ricocheting bullet also grazed him on the forehead.