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Wieambilla shooting: Holy cow! Australia police ambush labeled as religious terror attack

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Six people lost their lives in a shooting ambush that took place in a remote Australian town last December. The incident, which occurred in Queensland, has been declared a terrorist attack that was motivated by Christian extremism. This is the first time that Christian fundamentalist ideology has been linked to a terrorist attack in Australia.

The Trains, comprising Nathaniel, Stacey, and Gareth, were responsible for the attack. The group was suspected of being linked to conspiracy theories, and the police had been investigating them. On the day of the attack, the Trains opened fire on a rural property, killing two police officers and a neighbour. The police officers and the Trains engaged in a lengthy stand-off before the trio was eventually shot dead.

According to Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracey Lindford, the Trains “acted as an autonomous cell” and “executed a religiously-motivated terrorist attack.” The Trains subscribed to a Christian fundamentalist belief system known as “pre-millennialism,” which fueled their extremist views. The Trains referred to police as monsters and demons, and believed that they were evil.

Ms Lindford stated that the attack was premeditated, and investigators had found “significant evidence” of advance preparation and planning. The property owned by Gareth and Stacey had been set up with camouflaged hideouts, barriers, dirt mounts, guns, knives, CCTV, and mirrors on trees. Ms Lindford added that there was “not one catalyst” for the Trains’ extremism. Nathaniel’s heart attack in 2021 was a profound moment for him and his belief in God, while Gareth and Stacey losing their school jobs due to Covid-19 vaccine mandates increased their anti-government views.

The mental health of the Trains was considered by investigators, but it was ruled an unlikely factor. Ms Lindford said, “We quite often do see in our terrorist investigations, people who are impacted by mental health because they are easily radicalised.” She also noted that it is challenging to say that there is a mental health issue when three people act together.

There is no evidence that anyone else in Australia participated or assisted in the attack. However, the Trains have been linked to individuals in the United States, and the Australian police have shared information with investigators there. Ms Lindford said, “They’ll determine what investigations they might make as a result of that information.”

The attack will be investigated during a coronial inquiry, which will make the final determinations on the Trains’ motive, according to the police commissioner. The incident has left Australia shocked and grieving. It highlights the importance of monitoring extremist groups, regardless of their religious affiliations, to prevent similar attacks in the future.

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