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The FBI has arrested a U.S. man who is said to be linked to the murder of two Queensland police officers in an incident that shocked the nation in late 2022.
According to Queensland Police Service, the 58-year-old suspect was arrested in the U.S. state of Arizona on Dec. 1 as part of a joint investigation.
Alan Dare, a local resident who lived near the property, was also killed, while two other police officers were injured.
The three culprits–Nathaniel Train, his wife Stacey Train, and his brother Gareth Train–were later shot dead by specialist police.
The authorities believe the murder was a terrorist attack religiously motivated by extremist Christian beliefs.
“We know the offenders executed a religiously-motivated terrorist attack in Queensland,” said Queensland Police Service Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon, told reporters.
“They were motivated by a Christian extremist ideology and subscribed to the broad Christian fundamentalist belief system known as premillennialism.”
While authorities have established connections between the murder and extreme religious beliefs, some figures in the Christian community have warned against smearing all Christians because of the actions of the culprits.
“I’m not a ‘pre-millenialist’ but millions of Australian Christian believers are,” Lyle Shelton, the former head of the Australian Christian Lobby, previously told The Epoch Times in an email.
“To link what the police call an ‘autonomous cell’ operating independently of any Christian group to Christianity is quite offensive.”
“There is nothing in Christianity that justifies the murder of police or anyone for that matter.”
The arrest comes after Queensland Police investigators travelled to the United States.
The man was issued with two indictments over interstate threats by a Grand Jury in Tucson, Arizona, on Nov. 29, one of which is about comments posted online related to the Wieambilla shootings.
He appeared in court on Dec. 6 and now remains in custody.
A Planned Terrorist Attack
The police said the Wieambilla attack was a planned action aimed at law enforcement.
“We know that Gareth Train began following the 58-year-old man on the online platform YouTube around May 2020,” Ms. Scanlon said.
“Gareth and the man began commenting directly on each other’s videos in May, 2021.
“We have evidence to show the Train’s subsequently accessed an older YouTube account created by the same man in 2014 and viewed the content.”
The assistant commissioner also noted that the suspect repeatedly sent messages containing Christian end-of-days ideology to Mr. Gareth Train and Ms. Stacey Train between May 2021 and December 2022.
“Evidence has been seized and is being analysed by the FBI. QPS will make a formal request to the FBI for any evidential material removed from the Arizona property for analysis,” she added.
Furthermore, Ms. Scanlon said the case was still under investigation and still had a long way to go.
Nitiana Mann, an FBI spokesperson, said the agency and Queensland Police would work together to bring the suspect to justice.
Meanwhile, the families of the two fallen police officers and those involved had been briefed on the progress of the investigation.
Daniel Y. Teng contributed to this article.