Two police officers were shot dead in an ambush outside a house in rural northeast Australia on Monday, sparking an hours-long shootout that ended in the deaths of all three suspected shooters, Queensland police said.
Police have named the two officers killed as Constable Matthew Arnold, 29, and Constable Rachel McCrow, 26. A 58-year-old civilian bystander was also killed in the incident, police said.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said on Tuesday four officers visited the remote Wieambilla property, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Brisbane, during a search for a missing person.
Upon arrival, they were “ambushed” by three shooters, Carroll said. Arnold and McCrow died instantly from gunshot wounds, while the other two officers were later taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“In my opinion, these two officers didn’t stand a chance. The fact that two came out alive is a miracle,” Carroll said.
A total of 16 general duty officers responded to the scene to recover the bodies of officers under fire, police said.
A special police emergency response team then exchanged gunfire with the suspects during a four-hour shootout that ended in the deaths of the suspected shooters – two men and a woman, a said the police.
“There were considerable weapons involved in what happened,” Carroll said.
Speaking on Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said “all Australians this morning will be in mourning with the families of police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and others who have been injured.”
“Police put their lives on the line every day for fellow Australians, and this tragic news will be felt across the country,” he said.