Killer gunman is STILL on the loose after shooting dead three members of the same family in ambush that left another fighting for life – as cops warn he’s fled ‘many, many kilometres away’
- Mass shooting took place on a remote property on Thursday morning
- A man aged in his 30s fighting for his life in hospital after being shot in stomach
- Police spokesman said ‘At this stage, we do not know who is responsible’
- Emergency operation under way – locals are advised to avoid the area
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The gunman who fatally shot three members of one family and fatally wounded another is still at large, with police desperately hunting the culprit.
The tragic incident unfolded on Thursday at about 9am at a rural property in the small mining town of Bogie, about 40km west of Bowen in the Whitsundays region of north Queensland. Just over 200 people live in the community.
Police said the gunman is still believed to be in the area, with locals told to be on alert.
A fourth victim of the attack was also shot but the man in his 30s miraculously survived but was airlifted to Mackay Hospital in a critical condition suffering a gunshot wound to the stomach.
All four victims are members of the same family.
Locals say it’s not the first time there’s been an issue between those involved. It’s believed the incident was linked to a property dispute over boundary lines between the owners of two properties in the area.
Police said the investigation is still in the early stages and that the identity of the gunman is not yet known.
Three people are dead while a gunman remains at large in North Queensland. A fourth person was also shot in the stomach and was airlifted to hospital in a critical condition
‘We are actively searching the area and commencing our investigations into what the circumstances were and how it came to be that these people had been shot,’ Acting Superintendent Tom Armitt told reporters.
‘At this stage, we are at very, very early stages of this investigation. We do not know who is responsible.’
Police are yet to reveal the genders and ages of the deceased victims.
The injured man had been able to make his way to another home – which police said was ‘many, many kilometres away’ from where the shooting on a remote property took place – and contacted the authorities.
He was flown to Mackay Base Hospital to undergo emergency surgery and is now in intensive care in a serious but stable condition.
‘He was able to tell police that he had been shot and three others (were) also shot,’ Inspector Armitt said.
‘We believe the male was able to extract himself from the area. He was fleeing from the scene.’
‘Originally, when the male person spoke to us, he was obviously in a very distressed state and there was some confusion about where the shooting had occurred.
‘We were able to conduct searches ourselves based on the scant information that was provided and we had to update the location as to where the incident occurred based on the crime scene that we located.’
A rescue helicopter has been sent to Bogie in rural Queensland after four people were injured in a shooting
Four people were injured in a shooting in Bogie, near Bowen in north Queensland
After searching the area where the injured man was found, police deemed the location safe ‘and a further exclusion zone was established at a property along Shannonvale Road where the shooting is believed to have occurred’.
The shooting took place on a sprawling cattle property which is ‘rural, remote, very hilly and heavily forested’.
‘It has taken a number of hours for police to search and clear the area, however we have declared a crime scene in the remote rural location where we believe we have located three deceased persons,’ Inspector Armitt said.
Neighbours say the property was sold last year to a young family and that there was an ongoing dispute with a neighbouring property owner over boundary lines.
An emergency declaration for the area was issued at around 11.30am.
‘Investigations remain ongoing into the circumstances leading up to the shooting,’ the police said.
‘Police are currently conducting emergency operations in the area and requesting members of the public and aircraft to not attend the declared location.’
Police are clearing the ‘extensive’ property and will remain in place ‘as long as we need to do our job’, Acting Superintendent Armitt said.
Though there are no other people living in the exclusion zone, the police have urged everyone to avoid the area.
A woman who works on Peter Delamothe Road, which connects Bogie to Bowen, earlier told Daily Mail Australia she saw several police cars racing towards scene of the shooting.
‘I saw at least three police cars while I was outside and heard a few more sirens after that,’ she said.
‘It’s not usually what you see. I thought straight away that something bad had happened.’
The tragedy has rocked the local community.
‘It’s come as a big shock for that particular area and it’s certainly very concerning,’ Burdekin state MP Dale Last said.
Whitsunday Regional Councillor Jan Clifford added: ‘To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever happened in the Whitsunday region before.
‘We are all deeply saddened by the tragedy.’
Cr Clifford said the community of Bogie – with a population of 207, according to the latest census data – was more of a community than a township.
‘It’s a little village. Everyone will know everyone … It’s just awful.’
It is understood doctors and nurses with blood supplies and other medical resources were sent from Bowen Hospital to Collinsville Hospital – the closest facility to the shooting – to assist.
Up to eight ambulances were dispatched from as far as Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville.
Elly Colls, who works at Opal Ridge Motel, told the Guardian she learned of the incident at about 11am when someone rang to let them know there had been ‘a shooting at the Bogie’.
‘Better lock up the house,’ she said. ‘Cause I don’t think (they) found him.’
Other locals described the shooting as ‘unusual’ and ‘strange’ for the usually quiet area.
‘We’re traditional owners of this land around Collinsville. I wouldn’t have thought it could happen here. It’s a small town,’ one woman told The Courier Mail.
Another told AAP: ‘The whole town is a bit rattled that something like that could happen here.’
‘We don’t know the full story, but we’ve definitely heard about it. It’s a small town, everyone knows everyone.
‘But out in ‘the boge’? Well, it’s tiny.’
A helicopter is seen at the scene of a mass shooting in rural Queensland where three people were shot dead