BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Six people, including two police officers, were shot to death Monday after being ambushed in rural Australia where officers were investigating missing person reports, authorities said Tuesday.
The police indicated that the events began at 4:45 pm on Monday, when four officers arrived at a property in the state of Queensland.
At least two people shot at officers at the property in Wieambilla, authorities said. Police said the officers returned fire, but two of them were seriously wounded and died at the scene, and that a bystander — possibly a neighbor, according to local media — was also killed.
In that initial confrontation, a third police officer was grazed by a bullet and a fourth escaped, Queensland Police Commander Katarina Carroll told a news conference.
From there the situation turned into a siege, with special police units and air support, authorities said.
Just after 10:30 p.m., two men and a woman were killed in a second confrontation with police, authorities said.
“Tragically, this is the worst loss of life we have suffered in a single incident in recent history,” Carroll said at the opening press conference.
Police union president Ian Leavers said one of the dead officers was a man and the other was a woman, and both were under 30 years of age, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.