Three people are dead and a man is fighting for life after a mass shooting in rugged terrain in central Queensland.
The gunman remains on the run as police lockdown the area surrounding the scene of the shooting, a rural cattle property at Bogie, northwest of Mackay.
Police have not confirmed a motive for the tragedy, after the gunman opened fire on four people about 9am on Thursday.
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Three people died at the scene, while a man survived after fleeing into remote bushland with a gunshot wound to his stomach.
The injured man staggered for several kilometres before raising the alarm. He has been airlifted to Mackay hospital where he remains in critical condition.
It is understood the victims are related to the injured man, but police have been unable to confirm their identities.
“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 told reporters.
“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 was required emergency transport back to the hospital and he’s currently undergoing emergency surgery.”
Supt Armitt said the man was found in an “extremely critical situation” and had been unable to identify the shooter to police.
Police continue to methodically clear the property, ensuring the area is safe before the bodies can be retrieved and a forensic examination of the crime scene conducted.
“We believe that the person who shot them may still be in the area … We haven’t been able to get close enough at the present time to confirm anyone’s identity.”
Police are urging members of the public to avoid the area as the incident unfolds.
An emergency declaration was made at 11.30am under the Public Safety Preservation Act, with boundaries encompassing Sutherland Rd, Normanby Rd, Mount Compton Rd and Starvation Creek.
Police later updated an the declaration to Shannonvale Road where the shooting took place.
Supt Armitt described the incident as a “very rare event”, and said police would remain on the scene for as long as it takes to track down the gunman.
Whitsunday Regional Councillor Jan Clifford said it was the worst mass shooting incident in the region, and 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 community of Bogie – with a population of 207, according to the latest census data – was more of a community than a township.
“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 told AAP.
“We don’t know the full story, but we’ve definitely heard about it. It’s a small town, everyone knows everyone.
“But out in the ‘the boge’? Well, it’s tiny.”
An employee at the local petrol station admitted being scared to work the night shift as the gunman continued to evade authorities.
“I am here alone,” she said.
“I’m a bit worried now.
“We heard something was going on, but three people killed? That’s scary – it’s not that far away.”
Customers had been calling in at the service station all day, and the shooting was all people could talk about.
“There are a lot of rumours, but no one knows anything,” she said.
© AAP 2022