A resident of a Warrawong apartment complex at the centre of a police investigation into an early-morning machete attack says he fears leaving his home after dark because "you don’t know who’s hanging around".
Detectives and crime scene police have spent much of Tuesday morning at the scene of the machete attack, which resulted in a man being rushed to hospital with a partially-severed hand and cuts to the back of his legs.
According to police, a 25-year-old man was playing music in the rear courtyard of a building in the Illawong Gardens public housing complex, on Northcliffe Drive, when he was approached by another man wielding a machete about 4.20am.
Police have been told a confrontation took place, before the 25-year-old was struck in the arm and legs with the machete.
The armed man, who was wearing dark clothing, fled the scene.
The injured man went to a nearby unit and notified the occupant, who then alerted emergency services via triple zero.
Crime scene markers now dot the lawn and car park areas in a section of the apartment complex, with a number of police officers guarding the area.
The investigation focuses on two buildings within the overall complex.
The lettered evidence markers appear to show the man's movements between the two areas, with an internal communal staircase in one of the buildings also dotted with the yellow cones.
Blood stains were also visible.
Roger Eagle, who has lived at Illawong Gardens for 20 years, said he didn't hear the attack unfold.
The 75-year-old lives in a separate building to the one surrounded by police tape and said the injured man was not a tenant.
“He doesn’t live here. What he’s doing around here, I don’t know," Mr Eagle told the Mercury.
It is understood the attacker was also not a resident of the complex.
Mr Eagle said he was somewhat surprised by what unfolded on Tuesday morning but stressed "outsiders" were generally the troublemakers, not tenants.
“The people who cause trouble don’t live here," he said.
"There’s been two gun sieges here with the police and the people [involved] don’t live here.
“It gives the place a bad name, it makes all the tenants look like they’re all on drugs and all crooks, but it’s not them that’s causing the trouble."
Mr Eagle said he believed Tuesday morning's altercation could have been drug-related.
“Most trouble is over drugs, I know that, because they can’t go the police when they’re ripped off can they, so they’re fighting each other," he said.
Mr Eagle said he felt "uncomfortable" living in the area, mainly at night and early in the morning when "you don’t know who’s hanging around".
“It means you can’t go out after dark, because you don’t know who’s going to attack you," he said.
“The tenants don’t cause the trouble here, it’s the people that don’t live here. They even pinch washing off the line, outsiders. I suppose they’re homeless and pinch washing.
“The people living here are quite pleasant."
The injured man was taken to Wollongong Hospital, where he remained in a stable condition at 12.30pm.
Officers from Lake Illawarra police are investigating the incident.
Whether the two men were known to each other, and if they were both residents of the apartment complex, will form part of the police investigation.
No description of the armed man has been provided by investigators.
Anyone with information should call Lake Illawarra police station on 4232 5599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.