Queensland authorities say there is no ongoing danger to the community after a double murder and a police shooting in southern Brisbane that is being considered a “terrorism event”.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk cut short her beach holiday to reassure people that Thursday’s double-murder tragedy and the later shooting were isolated incidents.
Police suspected that only 22-year-old Raghe Mohamed Abdi – who was shot by police on the Logan motorway at Drewvale on Thursday morning – was involved in the suspected earlier murders.
“There is no need for the Queensland community to be concerned,” she said.
“I have every faith in both Queensland Police and the Australian Federal Police dealing with this issue.”
Abdi, who had allegedly been influenced by Somali extremist group al-Shabab, was on bail and had previously been arrested by counterterrorism officers.
Police say Abdi is directly linked to the deaths of a 87-year-old Maurice Antill and 86-year-old Zoe Antill, whose bodies were found with significant injuries in their home at Parkinson on Thursday afternoon.
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford said Abdi’s property was found at couple’s home. Items belonging to them were also found on him after he was shot dead.
“As a consequence of this investigation, and what we have now gleaned to date, we are treating this matter as a terrorism event,” Commissioner Linford said.
“I want to stress that nothing else has been uncovered at this point in time that would indicate that there are any other persons involved in this terrorism event.”
Commissioner Linford said the events had been reclassified as a terrorist incident due to Abdi’s history, because the shooting indicated he wanted to harm police, and as a result of his links to the double murder.
“When you put all those things together I think it’s pretty clear that we need to treat this as a terrorism event, and as such, we’ll make sure that we have that lens over what would normally be a homicide investigation,” she said.
Police have been door-knocking in Parkinson, where Abdi first removed his GPS tracking device on Wednesday afternoon, to find any further witnesses to the violent events.
They also remain concerned about the welfare of local residents after finding the elderly couple’s bodies.
“If you have family living in that Parkinson area it would be a good time to check in on them and make sure that they’re OK,” Commissioner Linford said.
It is not yet know how Mr Abdi and the Antills knew each other, if at all.
They did, however, live close to each other.
“A key focus is to understand what Mr Abdi’s motivation is,” Commissioner Linford said.
The AFP suspect Abdi had been influenced by al-Shabab when he was arrested on suspicion of an attempted foreign incursion while trying to depart Brisbane Airport for Somalia in May 2019.
He was released without charge due to insufficient evidence but had his passport cancelled.
In June 2019, he was charged with further offences, including refusing to give the passcode for his phone.
He was remanded in custody after refusing to answer the magistrate or acknowledge the authority of the court, before being granted bail in September 2020.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee said before the incident there was no indication there would be an escalation of violence or that Abdi posed a threat to the community.
“Certainly, up until this point, the information that we had was that his focus had been primarily focused in terms of offshore, an offshore threat not an onshore threat.”
The Ethical Standards Command is investigating the shooting with oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission.