‘In cold blood’: Details emerge about horror police shootings

Deadly police shooting in rural Queensland

Tragic details are emerging about the horrifying shooting attack that left two police officers and a neighbour dead in an ambush in Queensland’s Darling Downs.

Constables Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29, were the two officers killed when police making an inquiry about a missing person were confronted by a “hail of gunshots” on Monday afternoon.

The pair were shot and fell to the ground, while two of their colleagues took cover behind them.

“The ruthless, murderous trio have then gone and executed the two police, our fallen officers, who were on the ground. They have executed them in cold blood,” Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.

The three people who confronted police at the property at Wains Road, Wieambilla, then allegedly lit a fire in an effort to coax out a young policewomen taking cover in long grass.

“She actually believed that she was either going to be shot or she was going to be burnt alive,” Mr Leavers said.

queensland police shooting

The scene outside the Wieambilla property as paramedics arrived on Monday.

A siege situation followed, as specialist police and PolAir responded. The woman officer was later rescued by a specialist team, who also recovered the bodies of Constable McCrow and Constable Arnold.

Another man, a neighbour who went to check the property after hearing gunshots, was also killed. He has been named as 58-year-old Alan Dare.

“Two males and a female were fatally shot during a confrontation with police shortly after 10.30pm,” Queensland Police force said in a statement early Tuesday morning.

The three attackers were killed in a firefight with officers. They were brothers Nathaniel and Gareth Train, and Gareth’s wife Stacey.

wieambilla shooting

Nathaniel Train died in the shootout, alongside his brother Gareth and sister-in-law Stacey. Photo: NSW Police

It emerged on Tuesday that officers had gone to the property following a request from NSW Police regarding a missing person, later revealed to be 46-year-old Nathaniel Train.

He was last seen at his home in Dubbo on December 16, 2021.

While his whereabouts were unknown, it was believed Mr Train, a former schoolteacher, had remained in touch with his family until early October.

He was reported missing after apparently falling out of contact, with local police beginning inquiries on December 4.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Leavers emailed police union members, describing the “great sadness” over the “senseless murders”.

He confirmed the constables, both from the small town of Tara, had been fired on during “routine missing person inquiries” at the property, and received the “full force of the blasts”. Their two colleagues were “lucky to have escaped with their lives”, he said.

“These officers’ tragic, needless and senseless murders have already been felt deeply across Queensland and all over Australia,” the email read.

“Our thoughts are also with police who bravely contained and managed the subsequent operation that has now resulted in the deaths of all the offenders.

“We are all in a state of shock and disbelief. To be here tonight and know that two brave police both under the age of 30 have needlessly lost their lives affects all our emotions.”

An emotional Queensland Police commissioner Katarina Carroll also paid tribute to the fallen officers on Tuesday.

“As you would appreciate, it is an extremely emotional and challenging time for the Queensland Police Service. Losing one of our own has a
profound impact on every single officer and their families. To lose two officers in one incident is absolutely devastating,” she said, fighting back tears.

“I can confirm the two officers who lost their life overnight were Constable Matthew Arnold, 26 years old, Constable Rachel McCrow, 29 years old, and they were both from Tara police station.

“My heartfelt sympathies and condolences go out to their loved ones, friends and colleagues. The thoughts of the entire police family are with them at this extremely difficult time.”

wieambilla police shooting

Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold, both in their 20s, were killed in Monday’s attack. Photos: Queensland Police

Constable Arnold had been a police officer since March 2020, while Constable McCrow was sworn in June 2021.

Ms Carroll also offered condolences to Mr Dare’s family, and thanks to the other two officers who were first on the scene, Constable Kealy Brough and Constable Randall Kirk.

“They bravely did what they could to save their colleagues in the most horrendous circumstances. Their bravery was beyond belief,” she said.

“Unfortunately, this incident is a tragic reminder of the unpredictable nature of policing. Every day, our officers face very real dangers
while protecting their communities.”

Ms Carroll refused to give many details about the investigation, other than to say the scene at the Wieambilla property was confronting and there was “considerable weaponry involved”.

The scene is unimaginable and distressing,” she said.

“Those officers did not stand a chance. The fact that two got out alive is a miracle.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia would mourn along with the families of those killed in the line of duty.

“Terrible scenes in Wieambilla and a heartbreaking day for the families and friends of the Queensland police officers who have lost their lives,” he wrote on Twitter late on Monday.

“My condolences to all who are grieving.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, who was a Queensland police officer before entering politics, said it was a shocking incident.

“When you have a few police officers who are turning up to check an address, walking up the driveway and they’re gunned down in a cold-blooded style, that will send a shiver down the spine of any police officer attending any job today,” he told Nine’s Today on Tuesday.

“The police family is absolutely devastated, people will be scarred from the experience … it’s time for our community, for our country to come together around police and support them.”

Nationals leader David Littleproud, who grew up in the area, said the community was numb following the shooting.

“Chinchilla and Tara are both quiet, peaceful country towns. The shocking event that unfolded yesterday is not what our community is,” he said.

“My thoughts are with the two brave police officers and the member of the public who lost their lives. The police community will be raw today and we grieve with them.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt said news of the shooting was horrific.

“It’s just a reminder of the risk and the danger that so many first responders put themselves into. You don’t want to be reminded of it in that way,” he told ABC TV.

– with AAP

Topics: Queensland
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