Three people have been killed by police at a property in rural Australia after a six-hour standoff that began with the “execution-style” shooting of two officers and a neighbour.
Police say the violence broke out at around 4.45pm local time on Monday when four officers arrived to investigate reports of a missing person at a remote property west of Brisbane, Queensland.
At least two men, said to be wearing camouflage, opened fire without warning on the police, Sky News Australia reported.
Officers returned fire but two were critically injured and died at the scene, police said.
The two officers, a man aged 29 and a woman aged 26, were shot dead in an execution-style shooting at point-blank range, Sky News Australia understands.
A third officer is believed to be in the nearby Chinchilla hospital with injuries.
Police said a bystander, possibly a neighbour, was also killed during the shooting at the property in the town of Wieambilla.
Queensland Police commissioner Katarina Carroll said at a briefing that a third officer was grazed by a bullet and a fourth escaped in the initial confrontation.
A siege situation later developed at the property, the authorities said, with specialised police officers and air support called in.
Just after 10.30pm, two men and a woman were killed in a second major confrontation with police, bringing the violence to an end.
The area is sparsely populated and has several large properties and gas fields.
‘Executed by ruthless killers’
The commissioner fought back tears at an earlier news conference after confirming the first three deaths.
“Tragically, this is the largest loss of life we have suffered in one single incident in recent times,” Ms Carroll said.
Police Union president Ian Leavers said the officers who died had “no chance” when fired upon.
“To know that she and he are no longer with us in what was a ruthless, calculated and targeted execution of our colleagues and loved ones brings home the very real risks that we face every single day doing our jobs,” Mr Leavers said in a video.
“They were executed by remorseless, ruthless killers.”
Anthony Albanese, the prime minister, offered his condolences to the families of those grieving and said it was “a heartbreaking day for the families and friends of the Queensland Police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty”.