Suspect in mass shooting on cattle station had invited family

Suspect in mass shooting on cattle station had invited family

The person police suspect was responsible for a mass shooting at the front gate of a cattle station in remote north Queensland had invited members of another family to a meeting to settle a dispute before their deaths, police said.

The police said Mervyn Harold Schwarz, Maree Anne Schwarz and Graham John Tighe were shot dead on Thursday morning in a property outside Bogie, near Collinsville, while another family member, Ross Tighe, managed to escape the scene despite being shot in the abdomen. A 59-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Victim Ross Tighe had fled in a red ute and alerted police to the shooting of his family before being flown to Mackay base hospital earlier in a critical condition and undergoing surgery.

The night before the shootings, the police said that there had been a conversation between the family and the man arrested.

Acting Supt Tom Armitt said on Friday that the suspected shooter, his son and a female member of the family were present at Thursday s meeting. He said the trio was arrested overnight, along with two members of a power company who had been working on the property but were not believed to be involved in the dispute.

All gave statements and were released without charge except the 59-year-old man who police aimed to lay charges later Friday.

Armitt said the suspected shooter was arrested on his property.

He said police received confused reports about where the crime scene was and spoke to the large sizes of the properties, tens of thousands of acres and a 45-minute drive between the neighbouring homes.

The investigation was further complicated because police initially had no idea who or where the alleged shooter was, but believed he was armed with a rifle, so officers were in danger of being shot from any distance. That was slow and meticulous work and extremely brave of the officers who were involved, he said.

A special emergency response team was called in to perform armed clearances of the properties. The arrested man was a long-term resident of the area, known to police, while the victims were relatively new to the area.

He said there were a lot of people with cattle in the area and he called for anyone with information to come forward.