Qld police shooting: Neighbour’s cop killer encounter
The ‘Blockie’ neighbour of Gareth, Nathaniel and Stacey Train has revealed details of a bizarre encounter with the cop killer trio, as they ventured into town for supplies months before luring two police officers to their deaths.
The Blockies are mostly off-grid residents living on subdivided land between the town of Tara, where slain police officers Constable Matthew Arnold and Constable Rachel McCrow worked, and the Wieambilla property where the Trains lived – and they outnumber Tara residents by almost double.
Neighbour John, who lives on the other side of the Wieambilla shootout site, had a personal encounter with shooter Gareth Train in the middle of Tara two months before the tragedy occurred.
“Looking scruffy, I think they were all on ice. It was at Foodworks in the middle of town, he blocked my car in and when I asked him to move, politely, he just said f*** you, wouldn‘t even look at me,” he told the Daily Mail.
John had previously met Stacey Train, whom he described as an “odd unit, very alternative”, and recalled an unsettling comment she made about some young people who had been acting out.
“She said, ‘they all need to be put in a hole and shot’ and I thought ‘that’s a bit extreme’ but said, ‘they just need a kick up the a***’.”
Gareth, Nathaniel and Stacey ambushed four police officers, killing two, in a tragic shootout last week, filming and uploading a video detailing how they lured the officers to their remote property.
“They came to kill us and we killed them,” Gareth said in the video, with wife Stacey at his side.
“If you don’t defend yourself against these devils and demons you’re a coward.”
The trio also killed neighbour Alan Dare. The Blockie culture north of Tara has been under scrutiny ever since.
John offered some insight into how the Blockies live.
“There’s a lot of people with guns out here, and I’d say most of them aren’t licensed,” he said.
“I’ve had feral kids in here trying to steal my stuff, one even tried to taser me after I discovered his dope crop.”
He told the Daily Mail that there were a lot of “preppers” in the area, warning there was some places he wouldn’t “stop or get out of my car”.
“I’ve got electricity, tank water, sanitation, a satellite dish, but when people see you’ve got stuff from the road they just want to break in,” he explained
“Feral kids who’ve grown up here not knowing normal life in town or city.
“There’s one kid’s got multiple charges for arson and home invasion, but the cops can’t do anything because the judge just lets them off.”
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Unsettling new details about killers’ lives
On Thursday, disturbing new details were brought to light about the lives of the Train trio, with people who knew the killers exposing strange and unsettling claims about their past.
All three had previously worked for the Queensland Department of Education and moved between different rural towns to work in a number of regional schools.
In 2011, Gareth and Stacey moved to the town of Camooweal in far northwest Queensland, just a few kilometres from the Northern Territory border, according to the ABC.
It wasn’t long before people in the town started noticing something was amiss with the couple.
One local resident, who did not wished to be named, told the ABC that Gareth would often bring his dogs to the local swimming hole where kids liked to hang out and hunt wild pigs.
“We would often find the gutted carcasses of pigs there. Sometimes we would see Gareth with his knives running around with the dogs chasing the pigs,’’ he said.
“We would hear the boars screaming as he gutted them.”
The Trains’ house also backed on to the local school, which the resident attended at the time.
He said that Gareth would take the pigs and butcher them in his backyard, resulting in “blood and offal” running directly on to the school oval.
“There would be a smell of offal and blood running on to the footy field,” he said.
Another resident, Minnie Kenna, who worked at the school at the time, told the ABC she had witnessed Gareth “dragging” Stacey by her hair up the stairs and into their house.
“It’s a high house and he was just dragging. I thought, ‘It’s none of my business,’ and I didn’t like to interfere so I didn’t say anything,” she said.
Police investigate tip-off
Meanwhile, police are now investigating whether the Trains may have deliberately lured police to their property with a deceitful tip-off.
Nathaniel had been reported missing by his estranged wife on December 8.
She had last seen him in December 2021 but he stayed in touch until October, when he seemingly vanished.
Sources have now told The Australian that investigators are looking into whether one of the Trains called police and told them that Nathaniel Train was at the property in Wieambilla after seeing the appeal for information.
“They are looking at this possibility that they called NSW Police and told them they ‘think they know where he is,’’’ the source said.
“NSW Police acted on that and asked their Queensland counterparts to look into it as part of a routine missing persons’ inquiry.
“He was the bait.”
Within hours of the news breaking, attention had turned to Gareth Train, who had been an active member of a number of conspiracy theory websites.
His bizarre beliefs included that the 1996 Port Arthur massacre was a “false flag operation”, that the government was running “re-education camps” and that Princess Diana’s death was a “blood sacrifice”, as well as an opposition to vaccines and Covid lockdowns and support for the sovereign citizen movement.
– with Ally Foster