The Train family's belief that the police were "monsters and demons" led to Australia's first religiously motivated terrorist assault.
Monday, December 12, 2022, at approximately 4.40 p.m. local time, Nathaniel, Gareth, and Stacey Train opened fire on a party of four police officers who had gone to a residence in Wieambilla, Queensland, to do a welfare check on Nathaniel, a missing NSW principal.
Moments after their arrival, Constables Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29, were killed by a shower of bullets fired by Train, his brother Gareth, and Gareth's partner Stacey.
Constables Keeley Brough and Randall Kirk, both 28 years old, narrowly escaped the attack, with Brough becoming stuck in the flaming brush as the attackers attempted to smoke her out.
It is believed that Alan Dare, 56, was fatally shot in the back. He arrived at the scene at about 5 p.m. after observing smoke rising from the residence.
Deputy Commissioner of Queensland Police Tracy Linford told the media on Thursday that while the investigation into the attack was "far from" complete, exhaustive evidence had been gathered.
This includes entries from Stacey Train's diary, texts and emails sent by the group, social media posts, and a staggering 190 recorded statements and interviews. The property's CCTV footage and the bodycam footage of the four police officers have also been checked.
Links to Christian extremism exposed
According to Deputy Commissioner Linford, investigators decided that the Train family "acted as an autonomous cell to carry out their religiously-motivated terrorist attack."
The research revealed that the three adhered to the premillennialist Christian extremist worldview.
"Christian extremist ideology has been linked to attacks elsewhere in the world, but this is the first time we've seen it in Australia," deputy commissioner Linford said.
"We do not doubt that they acted as an autonomous cell, but one of our inquiries is whether or not they posted on social media and whether or not individuals in the United States monitored and responded to those posts."
Other similar religiously driven attacks tied to extreme Christian ideology include the Texas siege of Waco, which lasted for fifty-one days in 1993.
Deputy commissioner Linford noted that the "fundamentalist Christian theology" of the Train family was founded on Premillennialism, the belief that Jesus will return to Earth after suffering, bringing a protracted era of peace.
Based on their convictions regarding their mistrust of police and state, climate change, the pandemic, global wars, and socioeconomic inequality, the Train family believed that an era of turmoil had arrived.
"Throughout our examination of the material, we have found no indication that they identify themselves as sovereign citizens," said Linford, the deputy commissioner.
The entries in Stacey's diary and other examined written evidence had frequent allusions to cops being referred to as "monsters and demons."
We do not believe this action was random or spontaneous; instead, it was a targeted strike against police, as stated by Deputy Commissioner Linford.
"His (Stacey's) diary contains entries from the past few years.
"There appears to be a variety of catalytic events, such as Nathaniel's heart attack that occurred in August 2021.
"I believe that was a pivotal moment for him and his faith in God, and he has undoubtedly gotten more devout as a result.
"Covid was certainly another catalyst for them.
They held anti-vaccination attitudes as a result of an anti-government disposition.
According to deputy commissioner Linford, the Wieambilla property contained artificial dirt mounds, steel barricades, mirrors on trees, three compound bows and arrows, several knives, and six weapons.
She stated that the Train family used radios to communicate with one another during the attack and that they also had a trapdoor ready for possible escape.
"I want to emphasize that there are currently no indications that anyone else in Australia participated or assisted in this attack," said deputy commissioner Linford.