Two police officers among three killed in Australia shooting
Two police officers were among three people killed in a shooting in the Australian state of Queensland, authorities said on Monday, and a hunt for the offenders was underway.
Queensland Police ordered residents of the remote rural community of Wieambilla, about 270 kilometres (170 miles) west of the state capital Brisbane, to remain indoors until further notice while they hunted the killer or killers.
Australia has some of the toughest gun laws in the world, imposed after a mass shooting at Port Arthur in the southern state of Tasmania in 1996 in which a lone gunman killed 35 people.
“Terrible scenes in Wieambilla and a heartbreaking day for the families and friends of the Queensland Police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Twitter.
Police were called to the Wieambilla property on Monday afternoon in response to a missing person report from neighbouring New South Wales, Australian news reports said.
A man from a neighbouring farm also arrived after seeing a fire at the property when the shooting began.
As many as four officers were at the scene when a volley of shots rang out, killing two of them and the male neighbour. A third officer was also slightly wounded.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said neighbours had reported hearing dozens of gunshots and seeing cars on fire.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the fourth officer, a woman in her first year on duty, was able to escape and raise the alarm.
Mass shootings have been relatively rare in Australia since the Port Arthur massacre, although the shooting in Wieambilla is the second in Queensland since August when three men were killed on a remote cattle farm.