Man held after at least four killed in Darwin shooting

Saul Bowman
June 7, 2019

He only knew two of the four men he is accused of shooting and killing in a bloody rampage in Darwin this week, according to police.

Northern Territory Police have charged 45-year-old Ben Hoffmann with four counts of murder over this week's deadly shootings in Darwin.

Mass shootings in Australia had been a uncommon incidence since the country overhauled its gun laws in 1996, in the wake of a taking pictures in Tasmania that left 35 useless. Eyewitnesses said the gunman entered the Palms Hotel in the suburb of Woolner and opened fire in a number of rooms before fleeing.

"The active shooter threat has dissipated", Northern Territory Police Superintendent Gavin Kennedy told the AFP news agency after the arrest, adding that officers were investigating at least five crime scenes throughout the city.

Two people were taken to the Royal Darwin Hospital with gunshot wounds and were in stable condition, a Health Department statement said.

Police do not believe the incident to be terror related.

Chris Dalgleish, who was having a beer on the balcony of the Frontier Hotel pub across the road from the Palms, said people heard shots and raced inside the pub when they realised it was a gun.

The suspect was described by local media as a 45-year-old Caucasian man who was seen wearing reflective clothing and was driving a white Toyota Hilux UTE.

Police on June 5 said the ute had been "borrowed".

Dramatic footage of the arrest shown by the ABC showed the suspect flailing on the ground as he was tasered by heavily armed police.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said officials would conduct an urgent review of all prisoners on parole in the wake of the shootings.

"He shot up all the rooms and he went to every room looking for somebody and he shot them all up", witness John Rose told ABC. Police later established Alex, a Darwin resident, was in fact interstate at the time.

Over the next hour, the shooter went on to kill 52-year-old casino security guard Rob Courtney at a home in Jolly St, Woolner, a 75-year-old in Gardens Hill Crescent and Michael Sisois, 57, in the vehicle park of the Buff Club in Stuart Park.

"We know he was looking for one individual", Commissioner Kershaw told reporters on Wednesday.

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