Police in Melbourne are preparing for revenge attacks after the patriarch of a crime family was shot dead at his home yesterday.

A gunman is believed to have pulled up in a car outside the home of 65-year-old Macchour Chaouk in the west Melbourne suburb of Brooklyn and fired a number of shots before driving off in one of two shootings in the city yesterday.

Paramedics found Chaouk with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Detective Superintendent Murray Fraser said the killing "did not appear to be a random drive-by shooting".

The Age newspaper's website quoted Fraser as saying,"[Chaouk] died at the scene, but not instantly. At this stage we're not sure how many gunshots."

Fraser said it was too early to link yesterday's shooting with the Chaouk family's long-running feud with a rival Lebanese clan, the Haddara family, but that "we have to look at that as an avenue of inquiry".

"As you know, there has been a history of conflict with the Chaouk family," he was reported as saying.

"Generally we need to make sure we put in place plans to mitigate any revenge attacks."

In one of the most publicised incidents between the families, a cousin of the Chaouks, Ahmed Hablas, 22, was charged with the murder last year of Mohamed Haddara, a 28-year-old father of two.

A Haddara family member said the killer would "get what was coming to him" and his lawyer said "Mr Hablas is under sentence of death from the Haddara family".

Hablas claims he acted in self-defence after he was bundled into a car and then wrestled with Haddara, who was waving a gun.

Chaouk's family home in Geelong Rd was raided in July by police who seized guns, ammunition and blank passports and arrested Chaouk and his sons Omar and Waleed.

Chaouk and Waleed were released but Omar, 18, was charged with weapons, drugs and fraud offences.

The house was raided after a drive-by shooting in June in nearby Altona, in which Sam Haddara, 18, was shot in the face while sitting in a car. Sam is a cousin of Mohamed Haddara.

Sam Haddara survived, but needed extensive facial surgery.

During Omar Chaouk's bail hearing last month, his lawyer, Alan Swanwick, had argued that his client should be released because he was needed to help protect his family.

Magistrate Fiona Stewart said at the time that was precisely why he should not be released on bail.

"I'm gravely concerned about Mr Swanwick's submission that he [Chaouk] is needed to help his family, which is under siege," she said.

"There is an ongoing war between two families and the court should be extremely worried about the danger posed to the community by it."

Police last night had the area sealed off and the gunman had not been found.

Tensions flared yesterday afternoon as mourners gathered at the house and members of the media congregated outside.

Among a large group of men who had gathered and embraced was Chaouk's son Omar.

The group turned on the media, yelling at photographers and reporters. The Age website reported that Omar Chaouk, turned to its reporter and said: "F**k off, you f***ing rat. You're responsible for this."

Police quickly intervened.

The Chaouk family - Macchour, his wife, Fatma, and five boys and a girl - are no strangers to violence.

As early as 1975, Macchour was charged with assaulting a man with a metal bar and in 1983 he was convicted of trafficking heroin. In 2000 he was sentenced to five years' jail for again dealing in heroin.

In 2005, son Mohamed Chaouk, 31, was shot dead by police in a raid on their Brooklyn home - he was allegedly armed with a sword.

A second son, Matwali, 26, is facing charges including drug trafficking, theft and reckless driving.

Another son, Ali Chaouk, was last month refused bail over a brutal bashing that left a German tourist with a fractured skull.