Crime & Justice

Queensland shooting last year was religiously-motivated terror attack: Police

Sydney, Australia, Feb 16 (EFE).- Police Thursday said a shooting incident in the Queensland town of Wieambilla last year was Australia’s first religiously motivated terror attack by Christian extremists.

The Dec.12 siege that lasted six hours at a remote rural property left two police officers and a neighbor dead. Two police constables narrowly survived the attack.

The offenders – Nathaniel, Gareth, and Stacey Train – were killed during the exchange of fire with the police in Wieambilla, in the Western Downs region, some 270 km west of Brisbane.

The Train brothers and Gareth’s wife, Stacey, opened fire at a point blank on a group of police officers investigating a missing persons case.

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford told the media that the shooting was a “religiously-motivated terrorist attack.”

“Our assessment has concluded that Nathaniel, Gareth, and Stacey Train acted as an autonomous cell,” she said. “We do not believe this attack was random or spontaneous. We do believe it was an attack directed at police.”

Linford said it was Australia’s first Christian terrorist attack, even as the faith-based extremist ideology has been linked to other attacks around the world.

“The Train family members prescribed to what we would call a broad Christian fundamentalist belief system known as premillennialism.”

She said people who follow the belief system believe that “Christ will return to the Earth for 1,000 days, provide peace and prosperity, but it will be preceded by an era of tribulation and widespread destruction and suffering.”

Investigators believe that the Trains were preparing for the end of the world as the Covid pandemic, climate crisis, global conflict, social inequality, and anti-vaccine sentiment had pushed them into increasingly radical theological beliefs.

Linford said evidence that included analysis of a large number of documents, texts, and social media messages, along with 196 recorded interviews and statements, indicate that the attackers did not have the help of anyone else inside Australia.

The Wieambilla shooting by the heavily armed Trains prompted an investigation after police found firearms, knives, a security system that included mirrors hung on trees, and other camouflaged items around the property.

However, the police are working with the US authorities to contact people who commented on the Train’s social networks to determine if they were involved in the attack.


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