Six people including two officers have been shot and killed in a horror six-hour siege at a remote Australian property after police were ambushed while investigating reports of a missing person.
A team of four officers was sent to the home in remote Wieambilla, 160 miles west of Brisbane, after reports that former primary school teacher Nathaniel Train was missing.
But the cops were met with gunfire when they arrived from three camouflaged and heavily armed suspects and a lengthy gunfight broke out.
Train, his brother Gareth and sister-in-law Stacey gunned down constables Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29, and also struck their innocent neighbour, Alan Dare, 58, who went to the home to investigate what was happening.
Constables Rachel McCrow, 29 (left) and Matthew Arnold, 26, (right) were shot dead during an ambush in Australia yesterday
McCrow, who was sworn in only last year, and Arnold were shot as they tried to climb over a locked fence and were met with a shower of bullets.
The killers moved on the injured police officers and shot them dead, point-blank while stealing their guns.
A third constable Randall Kirk, 28, was shot in the leg but escaped, while a fourth, Keely Brough, 28, fled into bushland before the heavily-armed killers set fire to the scrub in a bid to flush her out.
The terrified officer texted her loved ones telling them she felt her time was nearly up as she also called for backup.
All three killers were later shot dead by officers from Queensland Police’s Special Emergency Response Team.
One of the two surviving officers, Constable Keeley Brough (pictured) fled into surrounding bushland, where she texted family members in the belief she was going to die
A third officer, Constable Randall Kirk, 28, and a soon to be father-of-two, was shot in the leg but managed to escape. He is now recovering in hospital
Cop killer Nathaniel Train was once a beloved head teacher – but his mental health spiralled after he suffered a heart attack during a cheating row at his school
Officers are pictured at the scene of the horrific shootout yesterday in rural Australia
Train, his brother Gareth and sister-in-law Stacey ambushed the officers at the rural property (pictured) in Wieambilla in central Queensland
A team of four officers was sent to the home in remote Wieambilla, 160 miles west of Brisbane
Nathaniel hadn’t been seen in a year but had been speaking to his family before contact suddenly stopped in October.
The officers headed to the remote bush home owned by Gareth and Stacey as they believed he had been living there.
Police said a motive remains unclear but it is believed Nathaniel’s mental health spiralled following a heart attack while he was campaigning for action over an exam cheating scandal at his school.
Today, the father of two of the gunmen, Ronald Train – a retired pastor of 27 years – said: ‘I have lost two children.’
Queensland Police commissioner Katarina Carroll said it was a miracle two officers survived, adding: ‘In my view, the officers didn’t stand a chance, and I don’t know how two got out alive.’
The violence began about 4.45pm on Monday local time when the four officers arrived at the Queensland property and didn’t until until 10.30pm when the three suspects were shot and killed by police.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called it a ‘heartbreaking day’ for Australia which saw the force’s largest loss of life in a single incident in many years.
Constable Brough was a rookie sworn in only weeks ago but managed to find cover and call for backup.
Four officers had attended a property on Wains Road, in Wieambilla, west of Brisbane, on Monday at about 4.30pm, after being asked by their colleagues in NSW to check on missing man Nathaniel Train. Two officers were shot dead
The property, owned by Gareth, who spoke of prepping his home for an apocalypse, and his wife Stacey was well off the grid, had extensive solar panels and water tanks
Neighbour Alan Dare (pictured) was shot dead by the armed trio after he went to investigate the gunshots
‘She did not know whether she was going to be shot, or [if] she was going to burnt alive,’ Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
‘I do know she was sending messages to loved ones, saying she was at a point where she thought it was her time. What was going through her mind, one cannot comprehend.’
Specialist police later arrived and took over the operation.
Ms Carroll said 16 officers risked their lives retrieving the bodies of the killed officers, not knowing at that point if their colleagues were dead or alive.
Police had acted upon a request from authorities in the neighbouring state of New South Wales to check on a person who had been reported missing as long as 12 months ago, but who had been in contact with people until recent days.
NSW Police issued a missing persons notice for him four days ago and had asked Queensland Police to make a routine check with his brother at his rural property (pictured)
Nathaniel Train (pictured) had previously won plaudits for his impact and results as a school principal
She said the investigation was continuing and it was too early to say if police were lured to the property.
She said the 58-year-old neighbour may have come over after seeing a fire at the property or hearing gunshots.
Gareth Train has since been revealed to have had links to several websites promoting conspiracy theories, where he posted extreme and bizarre views.
In one online rant, he claimed ‘chemical agents’ had been dropped over Australia, covering large parts of New South Wales , Victoria and Queensland. ‘We are now being poisoned and chemically manipulated on a massive scale,’ he wrote.
Gareth also regularly shared his mistrust for the Queensland Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) – the same team that arrived at his home and shot him last night.
‘The state sponsored terrorising squaddies – SOG, SERT and other special people are but government paramilitary hammers,’ he said in September last year.
In April last year he spoke of an ‘occult blood sacrifice’, which he claimed was responsible for the death of Princess Diana and 9/11.
Retired pastor Ronald Train (right with wife Gwenyth), the father of Nathaniel and Gareth, broke his silence on Tuesday evening
Train, his brother Gareth and sister-in-law Stacey – also a former primary school principal – shot dead two police officers and an innocent neighbour in an ambush at the rural property in Wieambilla in central Queensland (pictured, a police officer at the scene of the ambush)
‘Most don’t accept Princess Diana’s death was an Occult blood sacrifice to spellbind or the blood sacrifice of 9/11 or the War machine,’ he said.
‘Occult blood sacrifice runs hand in glove with Occult money magick.’ Occult refers to the practices of supernatural beliefs.
Gareth also claimed social media was ’embedded with Lucifarian spellbinding’.
He also wrote an anti-vaccination post, while in another he spoke about his thoughts on Queensland which he referred to as the ‘bad lands’.
But his brother had been a well-respected educator who was a leader in his field, with a track record of turning schools around – until a heart attack and a cheating row derailed his life.
One student, who shared a surname with a teaching assistant, was said to have been unable to answer the first two questions in an exam – but then got the next 34 all correct.
Train allegedly raised the alarm about the incident at his own school, but said the Education Department ignored him.
He stopped working at the school in August after he suffered a massive heart attack at the school in August 2021 and had to be revived by his teachers.
But Train kept pursuing the cheating row with education officials in a series of increasingly frustrated emails, according to Mr Latham.
Police work near the scene of a fatal shooting, where police shot multiple people at a remote Queensland property
Locals pay tribute to those killed in the horrific ambush that took the lives of six people
In the space of just a fortnight in March, Train sent 16 emails to the education department secretary Georgina Harrison begging her to tackle the problem.
After leaving his job, Nathaniel also walked out on his wife and had not been seen for months before the savage ambush.
Mr Leavers said the killings amounted to an execution.
‘What happened yesterday is two police officers were murdered in cold blood,’ he told reporters.
Ms Carroll said the two killed officers were highly respected and much loved.
‘They were both committed and courageous young people who had a passion for policing, and for serving their community,’ Ms Carroll said. ‘Both under 30 years of age. Both had wonderful careers and lives ahead of them.’
Prime minister Anthony Albanese told reporters in Sydney that the country mourned with those affected.
‘This is, indeed, a devastating day for everyone who loved these Australians, and our hearts go out to those in the grip of terrible grief,’ he said.
‘We know that this news has fallen hard on a close-knit and caring Queensland community, as well as, of course, the community to which all police officers belong.’
He said officers across the nation know the risks they face, yet do their duty.
‘And today and every day I pay tribute to each and every one of the police officers who serve their local communities and who serve their nation,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘This is not a price that anyone who puts on the uniform should ever pay.’
An emergency declaration remained in place on Tuesday for the Wieambilla area and a crime scene had been established at the property.
The area is sparsely populated and has several large properties and coal seam gas fields.
HOW THE TRAGEDY UNFOLDED
Monday 4.30pm: Four officers attended a property on Wains Road at Wieambilla as part of inquiries into a missing persons investigation
4.30-5pm: Two gunmen dressed in camo armed opened fire as police approached the house
A male constable, 29, and his female colleague, 26, were shot at close rnage and hit the ground. The gunmen stood over the injured officers and shot them again before taking their Glock pistols. A neighbour was also shot dead.
After 5pm: A third officer shot in the leg who managed to escape is taken to the local hospital. A fourth who fled into surrounding bushland is later rescued by a specialist police tactical team.
6pm: Police declare an emergency declaration zone encompassing the area between Chinchilla Tara Rd, Wieambilla Rd, Bennetts School Rd, and Mary Street.
After 6pm: Sporadic gunfire was reported by locals throughout the night
10.30pm: Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll pays tribute to the killed officers in an emotional press conference
11.30pm: A shootout with the Special Emergency Response Team police leaves two men and a woman dead.