Australia describes Brisbane couple's death as 'terrorism incident'
Australia describes couple's death as 'terrorism incident'
BRISBANE: Australian detectives suspect the deaths of an elderly couple in their Brisbane home is a “terrorism incident” perpetrated by a knife-wielding man who was shot dead by police, officials said on Friday (Dec 18).
Raghe Abdi, 22, threatened police with a knife before he was shot dead on a highway on the outskirts of Brisbane on Thursday morning, officers said.
The bodies of an 87-year-old man and an 86-year-old woman were found in their home later on Thursday, near where Abdi died, Queensland state Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford said.
Linfold declined to detail how they had died but homicide detectives had found evidence that Abdi had been in the house, she said.
"Further examination of both that scene, and the scene of the police shooting yesterday, has uncovered for us what we believe to be a direct link between the two matters," she said in a press conference Friday.
She added that an item allegedly discovered on Abdi was believed to be taken from the deceased couple's home, while several items at the home were linked to the man.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the known extremist had been acting alone.
“We had no choice but to declare this as a terrorism incident,” Carroll told reporters.
Australia Federal Police suspect Abdi had been influenced by the Islamic State group. He was arrested on suspicion that he was trying to join extremists when he attempted to depart Brisbane Airport for Somalia in May 2019.
He was released without charge due to insufficient evidence, but his passport was canceled.
In June 2019, he was charged with further offences including refusing to give detectives the pass code for his phone.
He was free on bail and had been forced to wear a GPS tracking device, which he had cut off before he was shot.
But his lawyer, speaking before the link to the murder investigation was made public, told national broadcaster ABC that the police were incorrect to connect him with terrorism and labelled yesterday's shooting as a "significant adverse mental health event".
"When he was going to Somalia to visit relatives, he was held for 18 hours and investigated as to whether he was going to Somalia as a foreign fighter," Terry O'Gorman said.
"There was no evidence to justify holding him and 18 months later, he has never been charged with that offence."