The person believed to have shot dead three people on a property in rural Queensland is in custody as details of a potential motive for the killings slowly come to light.
The alleged gunman is one of three people being held by police, while a fourth victim continues to recover in hospital after being shot in the stomach.
The victims are all from the same family. They have been named in multiple media reports as Mervyn and Maree Schwarz, and Ms Schwarz’s son Graham Tighe.
Graham’s brother Ross Tighe is recovering in hospital and was interviewed by police overnight, acting Superintendent Tom Armitt told Channel Nine on Friday.
“What we do know is that the parties involved are neighbours and some conversation has occurred between the parties,” he said.
The neighbours are believed to have met at the boundary line of their properties early on Thursday morning when the incident occurred.
No charges have been laid.
Police locked down the area surrounding the a rural cattle property at Bogie, north-west of Mackay following being alerted to the alleged shooting on Thursday.
Five people were taken off the remote property and were assisting police with investigations.
Police are yet to comment on a motive for the attack, which has rattled the normally the quiet mining town in the Whitsundays, with a population of just 207.
Some locals have told The Courier Mail newspaper of a “property dispute” between two landholders in the area.
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, Ross Tighe, survived after fleeing into remote bushland with a gunshot wound to his stomach.
Mr Tighe staggered for several kilometres before raising the alarm.
He was flown to Mackay Base Hospital, where he was in a serious but stable condition on Friday morning after emergency surgery. Detectives are reportedly still yet to speak to him.
“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 were continuing their investigations on Friday.
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 said.
“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.”
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.
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.
“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 said.
“It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone.”