A young man who was shot dead by police on the Logan Motorway on Thursday has been “directly linked” to the double murder of an elderly couple, with officers describing the incident as a “terrorism event”, Queensland police say.
The bodies of Maurice and Zoe Antill, both in their mid-80s, were found at a house in the southern Brisbane suburb of Parkinson on Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday morning, Raghe Mohamed Abdi, 22, was fatally shot by police on the Logan Motorway, not far from Parkinson, after allegedly threatening officers with a knife.
His father said Mr Abdi, who had been previously investigated by counter-terrorism police, was experiencing a mental health crisis and was “feeling harassed”.
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford said further forensic examinations of the two scenes revealed they were connected.
“There was an item located with Mr Abdi that we believe came from the address of the deceased elderly couple and we are also looking into items of property that were located at their address that were believed maybe owned by Mr Abdi,” she said.
“We are treating this matter as a terrorism event.
“Nothing else has been uncovered at this point in time that there are any other persons involved in the terrorism event.”
It is not yet know how Mr Abdi and the Antills knew each other, if at all.
They did however live close to each other.
Police door knocked the area on Friday and asked anybody who has family in the area to check in with them.
“And make sure they’re OK,” Deputy Commissioner Linford said.
“A key focus is to understand what Mr Abdi’s motivation is.”
Residents in the tight-knit street said they were shocked by the Antills’ deaths.
One neighbour told the ABC she had knocked on the couple’s door on Thursday when she heard their dog barking, but no-one answered.
She said she was devastated and could not understand why anyone would want to hurt the couple.
Mr Abdi had previously been the subject of a terror investigation.
The Australian Federal Police said on Thursday that he had been “influenced” by Islamic State and was stopped from leaving the Brisbane International Airport for Somalia in 2019.
He was arrested on suspicion of an attempted foreign incursion.
While he was not charged with counter-terrorism offences, he was on bail for minor offences for attempting to pervert the course of justice and refusing to hand over his passcode to his mobile phone.
He had also been fitted with a GPS tracking device, which he allegedly removed the night before the incident.
“We tried to engage with him on earlier occasions to see if we could provide him any support,” Deputy Commissioner Linford said.
“When you put all those things together, I think it is pretty clear that we need to treat this as a terrorism event.
“We don’t want anybody to be killed by police but unfortunately, there are times when police are forced to use lethal force and yesterday was one of those occasions.”
Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee said on Friday that police did not believe there was any ongoing threat to the Queensland community, and that Mr Abdi acted alone.
Raghe Abdi felt harassed, father says
The ABC spoke to Mr Abdi’s father Mohamed on Thursday night — before police revealed they were investigating whether there was a link to an alleged double murder.
Mohamad Abdi said his son had told him he was “always feeling harassed” and under the strain of surveillance.
“My son had some issues. I believe I told them many times, my son needed a mental health intervention,” he said.
“I feel that he was also experiencing some mental health crisis.
“The last conversation I had with him was a few days ago when he showed me a number of jobs he was offered and was unable to take because of the conditions he has been put under.
“He also told me: ‘I’m actually feeling so isolated and limited because I cannot play sport and activities.’ He told me he was always feeling harassed and followed.
“The tracking device on his leg, it was so stigmatising and so isolating to him.”
But he said his son, who was born in Australia and was a “gifted” student, had never interacted with IS or expressed radical views.
“When he was, probably, 12 years, he went to Kenya for two months — that’s the only time he went overseas,” he said.
“He had a strong Islamic faith, he followed his faith and identity.
“He was actually exploring his views as well, but he never actually expressed radical views.
“He was upset to some extent even to the inquiries [from authorities] and … I have counselled with him when I had the opportunity because I wanted him to cooperate with the law if questions were put to him he needed to answer, [and] in the end he did.”
‘My son needed help’
Speaking to media on Friday afternoon, Mohamed Abdi labelled the police action as “trigger-happy”.
“My son needed help when he was there — and the help he got was to get shot,” Mohamed Abdi said.
Delivering a statement on behalf of the family, Ali Kadri said the loss of life in the community was “painful for all involved”.
“It is heartbreaking to know that two elderly people were murdered and our prayers and condolences are with them and their family,” Mr Kadri said.
He said the family wanted to see more evidence about the alleged link to terrorism.
“Linking the deaths of this elderly couple to terrorism is premature,” Mr Kadri said.
At the time of his death, Mr Abdi had not been charged with any terrorism-related offences, Mr Kadri said, and the family said the fatal shooting by police needed to be thoroughly and independently investigated.
He also said dashcam footage — captured by a member of the community in the lead-up to Mr Abdi’s death — had been provided to the police and the coroner.
Mr Abdi’s father Mohamed said he believed the footage “contradicted” the statements made by police about the incident.
He said his son was going through an identity and mental health crisis but had not had terrorism links.