Wieambilla police shooting: How cops saved officer in siege and braved ‘kill zones’ and booby traps
The police heroes who who put their lives on the line to rescue a fellow officer from certain death, and bravely retrieved the bodies of two slain colleagues, were not from the crack special operations team but country town coppers.
Awaiting them at the remote Wieambilla property in Queensland was a network of booby traps rigged with secret cameras and motion sensors all leading to ‘kill zones’ – with police now all but certain the attack was premeditated.
Stacey Train, her husband Gareth and brother-in-law Nathaniel Train, had been holed up in the Wains Road house armed with a shotgun and two firearms.
The paranoid conspiracy-driven trio had a stockpile of ammunition, rifles and a shotgun, with one even wearing a ghillie suit to sneak up on officers.
Hidden cameras had been installed in trees while infra-red motion sensors alerted the main house if anyone had entered the booby-trapped fortress.
The trio had planted cruel obstacles like scraps of metal and large tree trunks to trick the unsuspecting officers into running into planned ‘kill zones’ where they could be shot at in the open.
The police heroes who who put their lives on the line to rescue a fellow officer from certain death, and bravely retrieved the bodies of two slain colleagues, were not from the crack special operations team (pictured) but country town coppers
The police vehicle which was at the scene was towed away on Wednesday, riddled in bullets demonstrating the ferocity of the shootout.
Constables Rachel McCrow, 29 (left) and Matthew Arnold, 26, (right) were both gunned down upon entering Gareth Train’s property in Wieambilla, rural Queensland
The wooden house where the holed-up shooters were firing on police.
When the Train family shooters fatally gunned down two young constables at their remote Queensland property on Monday, the call went out for police from around the Darling Downs area to urgently provide back-up while the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was being readied to deploy.
They arrived to see the bodies of two officers lying in the driveway of the home, and another terrified young officer hiding somewhere out in the bush where a fire had been lit to flush her out, as she desperately texted loved ones in the expectation she too would be killed.
SERT members – who eventually killed the brothers and wife who were holed up in the house – have been quick to praise the efforts of the country officers, whose day-to-day duties are more usually along the lines of traffic infringements and petty crime, not deadly gunfights like the one they encountered on Monday.
‘They said: ‘Don’t look at us, what about them’,’ Queensland Shadow Police Minister Dale Last told Daily Mail Australia at Tara Police Station, where the two slain officers Rachel McCrow, 29, and Matthew Arnold, 26, had worked.
Brothers Gareth and Nathaniel Train, had been holed up in the Wains Road house armed with a shotgun and two firearms
Stacey Train was living with the brothers at the Queensland property and also engaged with police
‘If it wasn’t for these officers, rounded up by Sergeant Vern Crous of Miles police station, there’d be another young cop dead, Keely Brough,’ Mr Last said.
‘They saved her life and braved a hail of bullets to get the bodies of constables McCrow and Arnold out.
‘It was incredible what they did.’
The Trains’ used several firearms to fire mercilessly at attending officers, a police helicopter, and a BearCat armoured vehicle during the counter-attack.
They would later steal two Glock pistols from the bodies of McCrow and Arnold after shooting the pair at close-range as they lay injured on the ground.
Const. Matthew Arnold was also killed, and regional police who attended bravely retrieved their bodies.
Before special ops police could arrive at the scene, it was local coppers from the region who answered the call to back up the under-fire officers.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said a risk assessment had been conducted before the officers went to the property to conduct a ‘routine’ welfare check
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll on Tuesday said the young cops ‘didn’t stand a chance’ as they approached the homestead – and that it was a miracle two officers had evaded the cold-blooded killers.
She said a risk assessment had been conducted before the group travelled out to the property to conduct a ‘routine’ welfare check on Nathaniel.
‘They were junior officers. The OIC was very comfortable they go to this job,’ she told The Australian on Wednesday.
‘They had done their risk assessments in terms of information they required.’
It has since emerged that Gareth Train last year penned a sinister warning to police who dared to step foot on his properties.
‘I have directed law enforcement to leave my premises over the last 20yrs, having no reason or grounds and at times have also asked them to remove their hands from their weapons or pull their pistols and whistle Dixie,’ he wrote.
‘Fortunately for me they have all been cowards.’
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll on Tuesday said the young cops ‘didn’t stand a chance’ as they approached the homestead (pictured, police attend the scene)
Const. Keely Brough ran for life into the surrounding bush and texted loved ones in the expectation she would die but was rescued by the country coppers just in time.
Fires were lit in the bush by the killers in an attempt to flush out Const. Brough.
The emergency round-up of police from all over the Western Downs to form a rescue squad led by Miles police boss Sergeant Vern Crous has impressed but not surprised fellow police.
They know of his front-footed approach to crime in Western Queensland, tackling waves of offending such as the spike of smashed homes and torched and looted businesses at Miles in 2021.
When word came that two officers were down after being shot at point blank range, one had escaped with a leg wound and female officer Kelly Brough was under fire and begging for help to save her life, Sgt Crous did not hesitate.
He put the call out to police ‘from stations near and far’, with Mr Last saying ‘they put their hands up and Crous brought them in. There wasn’t any time’.
A team of twelve local cops then converged on the chaotic scene at the Wains Road, Wieambilla property where the young constables had been shot dead around 4.40pm.
Another body lay in the driveway, of Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Alan Dare, who had driven over to the Trains’ place from his neighbouring property to investigate the commotion, and was fatally shot in the back.
Tributes are seen at Tara Police Station on Wednesday as locals mourn the loss of two officers
Nathaniel Train (pictured centre) was shot dead on Monday at his brother’s property in Wieambilla, three hours west of Brisbane,
Constable Randall Kirk managed to escape the scene in a police car despite a gunshot wound to the leg, and put out the alert for reinforcements while his Chinchilla police partner Const. Brough had also called for backup as she ran into surrounding bush.
Sgt. Crous’ dozen police officers entered the property under gunfire to retrieve Const. Brough ‘just as the flames were starting to burn her legs’.
‘At massive personal risk and danger to themselves, they went in, getting shot at, got Keely out and got out the bodies,’ Mr Last said.
The final 90-minute firefight between the SERT squad and the three Trains which ended in the cop murderers’ death was yet to come.
Qld Opposition leader David Crisafulli said on Wednesday in Tara that ‘some incredible stories of bravery by our police are going to come out in the days ahead’.
Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Alan Dare (right) had driven over to the Trains’ place from his neighbouring property to investigate the commotion, and was fatally shot in the back
A team of twelve local cops converged on the chaotic scene at Wains Road, Wieambilla property where the young constables had been shot dead around 4.40pm on Monday
Constable Rachel McCrow was one of two young officers gunned down and then shot dead execution style at the rural property.
Mr Last said even seasoned police officers had been traumatised by the vicious killing of their colleagues, who were finished off with shotgun blasts to the head as they lay injured in the driveway.
‘They are hurting,’ he said. ‘They work and live with these officers. But we must also be proud of how these cops brought together by Vern Crous acted with such bravery.
‘They came from all stations around the district, the call went out and they responded and saved Keely’s life.
‘Some of them were very young officers and they will take a long time to come to grips with it.’
Sgt. Crous is highly respected in the region for stamping out crime waves, having tackled a wave of violence, motor theft, trespass and vagrancy in Chinchilla in 2019, and a crime spike of smashed homes and torched and looted businesses in 2021.