MELBOURNE • Australian police charged a 45-year-old man with four counts of murder yesterday after he allegedly gunned down four people in the northern city of Darwin this week.
A court hearing is scheduled for today, Northern Territory Police said in a statement.
The gunman killed four people and wounded a woman in Darwin on Tuesday in one of the country's most violent attacks in years.
The suspect was stopped for speeding on Tuesday morning before the shootings. Police did not notice anything unusual and let him go, Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw told a news conference.
The suspect, who had been on parole since January, had obtained ammunition and a knife through an associate that same day, Commissioner Kershaw said.
He was hunting for a specific person during the rampage, the police said. The man was reportedly on parole and wearing a monitoring bracelet when he carried out the attack.
The dead victims are a roofer, a student from Lebanon, a New Zealand citizen and another person who has not been formally identified, according to media reports. The police identified five crime scenes, including pubs, a park and a convenience store.
Australia has some of the world's toughest gun control laws, adopted after its worst mass shooting in 1996, when a gunman killed 35 people at Port Arthur in the island state of Tasmania.
A murder-suicide last year in Western Australia, in which seven members of a family were killed, was the country's worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur incident.