Queensland Police have revealed new details about the shooting in a rural town that left three members of the same family dead and another critically injured.
Married couple Mervyn and Maree Schwarz, 71 and 59, and their son Graham Tinge, 35, were gunned down at their cattle farm property in Bogie, about 35 minutes from Bowen in the state’s north on Thursday morning.
Their other son, Ross, was shot in the abdomen and bleeding heavily but managed to flee the scene in a ute where he alerted police about the shooting.
Mackay Detective Inspector Tom Armitt revealed in press conference on Friday that the alleged offender and the victims had organized to meet the night before the shooting.
“What we do know is that all parties are neighbours, some conversation has occurred between the parties and resulted in a meeting up at the parties’ boundary line earlier that morning when the incident occurred,” he said.
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“We understand that there was a conversation the night before that was the reason they met the next morning.
“What I can say is that there was an invitation for them to go there and discuss.”
Police said the distance from the properties is a long 45-minute drive and is a three kilometer drive from the gate to the front of the house.
Ross underwent surgery at MacKay Base Hospital on Thursday night and has been well enough to speak with police.
A 59-year-old male neighbor of the Schwarz’s is being held in custody with charges expected to be laid late on Friday afternoon.
“He will be remaining in our custody and we expect to lay criminal charges in relation to the matter some time later on this afternoon,” Superintendent Armitt said.
He also revealed the Schwarzs’ had purchased the property “some time” in the last 12 months while the 59-year-old was a long-term resident of the area.
Police took five people who were on the property at the time of the incident into custody overnight with all but the alleged shooter released.
Emergency services received a call around 9am on Thursday by the lone survivor who had driven about 40 kilometers away from the crime scene.
Superintendent Tom Armitt said there was confusion about where the shooting had occurred with the call coming from a far distance away but praised the officers who placed themselves in danger during the response.
“At that particular time we had a report that three persons had been shot. I believed that they had been killed but we needed confirmation on that,” he said.
“At that particular time whilst we had made requests of our CERT team to come and make clearances and armed clearances at those properties we needed to push forward with police to determine the safety of the people on the ground.
“We had a small team of police who drove forward into the crime scene at that time not knowing if the armed offender was present putting their lives at grave danger especially when the report was that people had been shot with a rifle.
“They were in danger of being shot at any distance whilst approaching the crime scene so that was slow and meticulous work and extremely brave from the officers who were involved at that time.”
Police are yet to determine a motive for the incident with investigations into the incident ongoing.
Anyone in the area with information who has knowledge, information of any issues in the area, or spoke with either family, should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.