News Police hunt gunman as family victims of north Qld shooting identified

Police hunt gunman as family victims of north Qld shooting identified

Three people have been shot dead on a rural property, north-west of Mackay and a fourth is critically injured.

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This story has been updated: Alleged shooter in custody

Three dead victims and one man who escaped a mass shooting in north Queensland have been identified as members of the same family, while the gunman remains at large.

News Corp has named married couple Maree and Mervyn Schwarz and her son Graham Tighe as the three people who were shot dead on a rural cattle property at Bogie, north-west of Mackay.

The injured sole survivor who managed to flee the nightmarish scene and raise the alarm was found in a car at Flagstone with a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Media named him as Ross Tighe, the brother of Graham. He was airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital where he underwent surgery and is in a serious but stable condition.

The gunman remains on the run as police locked down a large area under an emergency declaration.

Five people were taken off the remote property and are assisting police with investigations to establish the events surrounding the shooting.

Police have not commented on the motive for the attack which has rattled the normally the quiet mining town in the Whitsundays, with a population of just 207 people.

Some locals have told The Courier Mail newspaper of a “property dispute” between two landholders in the area.

The township of Bogie in North Queensland has been shocked by the shooting.

Police said the gunman opened fire on four people about 9am on Thursday.

Two men and a woman died at the scene, while another man survived after fleeing into remote bushland with a gunshot wound to his stomach.

The injured man, Mr Tighe, staggered for several kilometres before raising the alarm.

He was airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital and detectives had not yet spoken with him, police said on Thursday evening.

“All people involved are known to each other and investigations are continuing,” Queensland Police said in a statement.

Several crime scenes have been established at the property and forensic teams will continue searches on Friday morning.

Police said there was no ongoing danger to the public, after locals were urged to avoid the area earlier on Thursday.

“We are actively searching the area and committing our investigations as to what the circumstances were and how tactically people have been shot,” Mackay District Superintendent Tom Armitt told reporters.

“We do not know who was responsible. We haven’t been able to get any other details from the male person who had been shot, as he required emergency transport back to the hospital and he’s currently undergoing emergency surgery.”

Victim Maree Schwarz.

Superintendent Armitt said the man was found in an “extremely critical situation” and had been unable to identify the shooter to police.

Police had to clear the property and ensure the area was safe before the bodies could be retrieved.

“We believe that the person who shot them may still be in the area … We haven’t been able to get close enough at the present time to confirm anyone’s identity.”

The emergency declaration was made at 11.30am, with boundaries encompassing Sutherland Road, Normanby Road, Mount Compton Road and Starvation Creek.

Police later updated the declaration to include Shannonvale Road, where the shooting took place.

Superintendent Armitt described the incident as a “very rare event” and said police would remain on the scene for as long as it took to track down the gunman.

Whitsunday Regional Councillor Jan Clifford said the tight-knit community would be devastated.

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever happened in the Whitsunday region before,” Cr Clifford said.

“We are all deeply saddened by the tragedy.”

Cr Clifford said the incident was bound to have a big effect on the tiny community of Bogie, which has a population of 207 according to the latest Census data.

“It’s a little village. Everyone will know everyone … It’s just awful.”

One woman working in nearby Collinsville said the entire community was in shock.

“The whole town is a bit rattled that something like that could happen here,” she told AAP.

“It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone.”

An employee at the local petrol station admitted being scared to work the night shift as the gunman continued to evade authorities.

“I am here alone,” she said. “I’m a bit worried now.

“We heard something was going on, but three people killed? That’s scary – it’s not that far away.”

-with AAP