Six people, including two police officers, died in a shooting incident in the Western Downs region of Queensland yesterday.
It came after four police officers attended a property in Wieambilla, a rural town about 300 kilometres west of Brisbane, in relation to a missing person investigation.
Two police officers – 29-year-old Constable Rachel McCrow and 26-year-old Constable Matthew Arnold – were shot dead at the scene, as well as a 58-year-old man who lived at a neighbouring property.
Three suspected offenders were killed later in the night during a confrontation with police.
Queensland Police received a request from NSW to check on a person who had been missing for up to 12 months. The person had been keeping contact with others over this time, but had lost contact in recent days.
Queensland Police Service Commissioner Katarina Carroll said four officers entered an exposed area which involved “considerable weaponry”.
Two officers were fatally shot as they approached the property yesterday afternoon.
A siege situation ensued at the property and specialist police officers responded.
The two other police officers who initially attended the scene suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospital.
Carroll said the officers “did not stand a chance” and it was a “miracle” that two survived the incident.
“I cannot believe that two officers got out alive.”
“This event is the largest loss of police life we have suffered in a single incident in many years,” Carroll said.
She described the two officers fatally shot as “highly respected and much-loved members” of the police service.
Carroll added that the two surviving officers showed “bravery beyond belief”.
David Littleproud, Leader of the Nationals Party and the local member for the electorate where the incident occurred, said the community was “numb”.
“The shocking event that unfolded yesterday is not what our community is… We are indebted to the police officers and emergency service personnel who responded yesterday.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called the incident a “horrific tragedy”. Flags will fly at half mast on Queensland Government buildings today, which will also be lit in blue and white.