THE accused gunman, who allegedly shot a man in front of his girlfriend and children at Mullaway, executed the shooting just after the father of the woman had drowned.
Police will allege the couple were tailed by the accused shooter to an address on Darkum Rd, Mullaway on Wednesday evening.
The shooting happened after a heated exchange, less than an hour after emergency services recovered the body of the Queensland woman's 57-year-old father below Woolgoolga Headland.
The 32-year-old male victim, who suffered gunshots to the right side of his head, has undergone surgery and is listed as stable.
Police allege he was shot at close range.
It is understood the traumatised children were seated inside the car.
After the shot struck the man it narrowly missed them and shattered a rear window of the vehicle.
In a breakthrough in the case, detectives on Thursday morning arrested a 20-year-old local man in Hawke Dr, Woolgoolga around 11.30am.
He was charged with shoot with intent to murder on Thursday night after extensive questioning.
Detectives say they executed a search warrant on a Sandy Beach home and seized several items for forensic examination.
In interviews with police the gunshot victim and his partner indicated the shooter was known to them.
An alleged motive for the shooting was a longstanding feud over a previous relationship.
News camera vision captured at the scene of the drowning shows the victim's Holden Commodore drive from the Woolgoolga Headland.
A short time earlier the woman's father had been pulled unconscious from the surf.
He was not able to be revived in what police called an apparent accidental drowning.
Police investigating the tragic turn of events have determined the Mullaway man drowned sometime after he was reported missing on Tuesday night.
After the body was taken to Coffs Harbour Hospital for a post mortem it is understood the family left the scene and travelled to Mullaway, 5km away, where the deceased man lived.
Police allege the shooter followed the car from the headland to Darkum Rd brandishing a firearm.
A white Holden ute seen to sped off by witnesses after the shooting was also captured on camera at the scene of the drowning.
Police have obtained the news footage as potential evidence.
A utility matching that description is said to have been recovered during the arrest of the suspect.
Detectives have not indicated whether a firearm has been seized.
The accused man has been bail refused and is expected to appear before the Coffs Harbour Local Court on Friday.