Police say a man who was shot in the knee at a Wollongong apartment building was the victim of an ambush, and his "friends" did nothing to stop it.
The 50-year-old man has told police he was visiting friends in a unit on Market Street about 9pm Tuesday, when he crossed paths with two men in the complex stairwell.
The men were carrying weapons including a gun, described by police as a rifle, possibly a .22.
Wollongong Police District's Detective Chief Inspector Brad Ainsworth Brad Ainsworth said the victim struggled and cried out for help, but none came.
"He fought back. He gave a good account of himself apparently. He threw a few objects at them and things like that. And after the assault ... one of the males produced a firearm."
"He screamed and yelled at a considerable rate. And the people within the units that he was heading didn't come out. So this is part of our line of inquiry.
"I'd probably go as far as to say he could've even been ambushed down there."
The gun was within a metre of the man's knee when it went off, the Mercury understands.
Police visited the man at Wollongong Hospital this morning and he told them what had happened. But his friends have not provided police with any details.
"The victim's provided a version that we believe is credible. The same can't be said of the people within the unit where he was going," Insp Ainsworth said.
"They've refused to help so far and what information they've offered is doubtful."
Inspector Ainsworth said the man did not know his attackers and police are now working to try and identify them.
He said the attack was clearly targeted, but would not elaborate on what may have motivated the gunmen.
"He [the victim] was bashed and he was ultimately shot. There wasn't too much conversation," he said.
The two men fled in a dark-coloured car that was last seen driving down Market Street and north onto Corrimal Street.
On Wednesday detectives visited nearby businesses in search of CCTV footage.
The Mercury understands the victim underwent surgery at Wollongong Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.
He is not known to police for any significant crimes.
Police are calling on anyone who witnessed or heard the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. It is possible to provide information anonymously.