Sydney, Australia, Dec 13 (EFE).- Six people, including two police officers, were shot dead in a six-hour siege at a remote rural property in Queensland, Australian authorities confirmed on Tuesday.
The deaths of the two police officers and 58-year-old neighbor Alan Dare were first reported Monday night after four officers attended a property in Wieambilla, in the Western Downs region, some 270 kilometers west of Brisbane, to investigate a missing persons case at around 4.30 pm local time (06:30 GMT).
“Tragically, two of the police, 26-year-old constable Matthew Arnold and 29-year-old Constable Rachel McCrow were shot dead. Their two colleagues were lucky to escape. A bystander was also tragically killed,” Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in Brisbane on Tuesday.
“The offenders – the two men and a woman on the property – were killed during the confrontation with the police.”
Queensland police commissioner Katarina Carroll said at a press conference in the town of Chinchilla, Western Downs, that “despite police efforts, the matter was unable to be resolved peacefully and all three offenders were fatally shot by specialist officers… In total, six people have lost their lives.”
The other two police officers were wounded.
“Those (attending) officers did not stand a chance. The fact that two got out alive is a miracle,” Carroll said, adding there was “considerable weaponry involved.”
The four police officers went to the Wieambilla property on Monday afternoon at the request of police from the neighboring state of New South Wales to check on the whereabouts of a missing person.
That missing person was identified Tuesday as 46-year-old former primary school principal Nathaniel Train, who was one of the alleged offenders shot dead by police, alongside his brother Gareth (Gavin) Train and a yet to be identified woman, according to public broadcaster ABC.
The property is listed as being owned by Gareth and Stacey Train, it added.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the two officers were “executed in cold blood” by a “ruthless, murderous trio,” ABC reported.
“As they entered the property, they were just inundated with gunfire, and they never had a chance,” Leavers said.
He added that neighbor Dare was killed when he arrived to investigate.
From the first arrival of the four officers, through the arrival of special operations police, to the end of the siege at 10.30 pm, officers “were continually under fire,” he said.
A minute’s silence was held at the nearby Tara police station on Tuesday for the two slain officers who were stationed there, and floral tributes had been left outside the building.
The commissioner said it would take days, if not weeks, to unravel what transpired Monday. EFE