Six people including two police officers were killed in a gunfight at a remote property in Australia’s Queensland state, authorities said on Tuesday, after police visited the place to investigate reports of a missing person.
Initial information indicated the officers were shot by two armed offenders on Monday evening when they approached the residence on the property in Wieambilla, about 300 km (186 miles) northwest of Queensland’s capital Brisbane, state police
said in a statement.
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After specialist officers and air support responded to a siege situation at the property, three offenders including a woman were shot dead, the police said.
A member of the public was also killed while two other police officers were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Gun crime remains relatively rare in Australia which implemented some of the world’s toughest gun laws after a lone gunman killed 35 people in April 1996 at a cafe and tourist site at the former colonial prison of Port Arthur in the island state of Tasmania.
The officers visited the property after a missing person’s report was filed in New South Wales for Nathaniel Train, local media reported.
Nathaniel Train, a 46-year-old former school principal in New South Wales, his brother Gareth Train and an unidentified
woman were the attackers shot dead by the police, they also reported. The police have not formally revealed the identities
of the armed offenders.
The slain police officers were Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, and Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, police said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the incident as “terrible and a heartbreaking day for the families and friends
of the Queensland Police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”
“My condolences to all who are grieving tonight -- Australia mourns with you,” Albanese said in a tweet.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the shooting was the largest loss of life the state police have suffered in one incident in recent times.
Circumstances surrounding the incident, including the deaths, will be investigated, Carroll said.
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