https://www.bbc.com-Image source, Facebook: Walgett Community College Primary School
Nathaniel Train was a school principal until late last year
By Tiffanie Turnbull-BBC News, Sydney
Two Australian men behind a shootout that left six dead were “obsessed” with guns in their youth, their father says.
Nathaniel and Gareth Train along with Gareth’s wife Stacey were killed by police on Monday after they shot two police officers and a neighbour.
Police are investigating whether they set an ambush at the remote property, and their links to conspiracy theories.
The shooting has shocked Australia and prompted conversations about gun control and online extremism.
Police have said the trio used “many weapons”, but are yet to reveal what kind or a motive for the attack.
Speaking for the first time since the shooting, Ronald Train said his sons had clearly taken a “dark track” since cutting off their family 20 years ago.
In an exclusive interview with local television programme A Current Affair, Mr Train said the pair had long shown an interest in weapons.
“Gareth in particular was obsessed with guns and weapons, Nathaniel to a lesser degree,” he said.
He described Gareth – the older of the two brothers – as a “difficult” child who was “very volatile [and] very controlling”, but said he couldn’t fathom how his sons had come to be involved in such a “horrific” incident.
“I just could not understand how something like this could have occurred with two children who had been raised… with certain beliefs, Christian beliefs.”
He said he was also surprised to learn Stacey Train, 45, had left Nathaniel, 46 – her first husband and father of her children – for his brother Gareth, 47.
Police were at the property in Wieambilla – 270km (168 miles) west of Brisbane – searching for Nathaniel Train, who had been reported missing, when they were fired upon about 16:30 on Monday.
Two constables – Matthew Arnold, 26, and Rachel McCrow, 29 – were hit immediately. A third officer – Keely Brough, 28 – ran to find cover. The fourth – Randall Kirk, also 28 – was able to retreat into his car, suffering a bullet wound to his leg on the way.
Mr Arnold and Ms McCrow where then “executed” where they lay on the ground, Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers says. The Trains tried to flush out Ms Brough – a rookie sworn in only weeks ago – by setting alight bush and grass she was hiding in, he says.
Several media outlets reported that Gareth Train appeared to have contributed often to online forums which promoted conspiracy theories. In posts he had expressed a distrust of police and wrongly claimed the country’s deadliest mass shooting was a government ploy to disarm Australians, The Guardian reported.
Mr Train said he understood why his sons have been “demonised” in the press, but does not believe they are “monsters”.
“I would describe them as some two boys that have completely lost their way in life,” he said.