Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow had trained together, and lived together in police housing.

Six people were killed, including two police officers in their twenties, on Monday when a routine missing persons investigation turned into an hours-long siege at a remote Australian region, police said.

Four police officers arrived at a tree-lined property near the small town of Wieambilla on Monday afternoon.

“As soon as they entered the property, they were inundated with gunfire,” said Queensland police union chief Ian Leavers. “They never had a chance. Two police officers were executed in cold blood.”

The deceased were identified as 26-year-old Rachel McCrow and 29-year-old Matthew Arnold. Both joined the force over the last two years and were still constables.

“Those officers paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our community safe,” said Queensland Police Commander Katarina Carroll, holding back tears as she briefed the public on the “extraordinarily distressing” events.

FILE PHOTO: Police work near the scene of a fatal shooting, where police shot multiple people at a remote Queensland property after an ambush in which two officers and a bystander were also killed, in Wieambilla, Australia, December 13, 2022. AAP Image/Jason O’Brien via REUTERS

A 58-year-old neighbour believed to have heard the commotion and investigated the scene was also shot and “declared deceased at the location”, according to police.

Two other officers survived the attack and were taken to hospital with minor injuries. One of the survivors was Constable Keeley Brough, who sent frantic messages to loved ones as suspects tried to smoke her out of surrounding bushland where she hid, local media reported.

She has been a police officer for just eight weeks, officials said.

Aerial images from the scene showed an unremarkable zinc roofed bungalow, a burned-out vehicle and smoke still lingering around the property.

After an initial clatter of gunshots, a specialist team of more than a dozen officers with air support was rushed to the scene. By 10:30 pm local time, following an hours-long siege, two male suspects and one female suspect were dead. Police did not reveal the suspects’ identities, but officers were believed to have been searching for a former primary school principal who went missing late last year.


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