Anthony Albanese has paid tribute to the two police officers gunned down in what has been described as an ambush in Wieambilla on Monday, saying their lives were ‘cut short by this atrocity’.
‘This is, indeed, a devastating day for everyone who loved these Australians. And our hearts go out to those in the grip of terrible grief,’ he said.
‘We know that this news has fallen hard on a close-knit and caring Queensland community as well as, of course, the community to which all police officers belong.’
Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, and Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, died after coming under siege while responding to a call about a missing person on a property in the rural town.
Pictured left is Queensland police officer Constable Rachel McCrow who was killed in a shooting on December 12, 2022 in Queensland
Pictured is Queensland police officer Constable Matthew Arnold who was killed in a shooting at 251 Wains Rd, Wiembilla, Queensland on December 12, 2022
The officers ‘didn’t stand a chance’ against the group of camouflaged gunmen according to Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.
Ms Carroll told reporters the attack was intended to kill as many people as possible.
‘As I said, I went to the scene, it was confronting as you could appreciate … in my opinion, those officers did not stand a chance,’ she said.
‘The fact that two got out alive is a miracle. The incident is a reminder of the unpredictable nature of policing.’
Two police officers survived the attack and have been identified as Constable Keeley Brough and Constable Randall Kirk, both 28.
Mr Albanese spoke about the dangers police officers faced in their daily jobs.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) said ‘this is a devastating day for everyone who loved these Australians’, referring to two police officers and a civilian killed in Queensland
‘Today is a rough day indeed for all police officers and their families, every officer knows the risk that they face in the life of duty,’ he said.
‘They are all too aware of the dangers that they face. Yet they do their job, they do it for our communities.
‘That is courage and it is public service at the highest level, and today and every day I pay tribute to each and every one of the police officers who serve their local communities and who serve their nation.
‘This is not a price that anyone who puts on the uniform should ever pay. We can never count the true cost.
‘My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of all those affected by this tragedy.
‘With honour, they served, and Australia mourns with you today. We stand with you always.’
The group of officers had travelled to the address at Wieambilla, three hours west of Brisbane, at 4.40pm on Monday to investigate the disappearance of missing Dubbo man Nathaniel Train.
Officers Matthew Arnold (left) and Rachel McCrow (right) who were killed in the incident were based at Tara Police Station and previously worked in the Dalby region
One of the surviving officers, Constable Brough, who had only joined the police force nine weeks ago, fled the scene and escaped into nearby bushland.
The group then set fire to the bushes to try to smoke her out.
A neighbour who came to investigate after the incident took place was also shot and killed at around 5pm.
It’s understood further shots were fired into his and the officers’ bodies, and the dead and injured officers’ Glock guns were taken.
Police declared an emergency declaration zone by 6pm, encompassing the area between Chinchilla Tara Road, Wieambilla Road, Bennets School Road and Mary St.
At 2am, Queensland Police confirmed two men and a woman – Nathaniel Train, his brother Gareth and a female partner – had been killed by officers at 10.30pm.
A specialist police team of 16 officers then rescued Constable Brough, with Constable Kirk taken to hospital.
Both officers who were killed in the incident were based at Tara Police Station and previously worked in the Dalby region.
Constable McCrow joined the force in June 2021, while Constable Arnold became an officer in March 2020.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton (pictured) said the killings would send ‘shivers down the spine of any police officer attending any job today’
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also addressed the incident, saying it would ‘shivers down the spine of any police officer attending any job today, right around the country’.
‘And the families will be devastated. The families, the loved ones of those police officers who said goodbye for the last time yesterday, they will never ever recover from that,’ he told the Nine Network.
‘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 and always remember that they go into the line of fire and into that danger zone so that we don’t have to.
‘We should be very grateful for the work and the sacrifice of these two officers yesterday, and spare a thought and a prayer today for all of those in the police family.’