Gunman 'bashed' partner before chase, siege
THE fugitive at the centre of yesterday's manhunt, near Rockhampton, allegedly bashed his female partner in front of her daughter before the dramatic events unfolded.
That's what a source told The Morning Bulletin yesterday at the scene of police patrols for the wanted man on the Burnett Hwy, near the base of the Mt Morgan Range.
The fugitive, aged in his early 20s, had also allegedly threatened his female partner with a gun, Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow said.
The Morning Bulletin source, who wished not to be named, said the female victim had reported the incidents to the police on Tuesday.
She attended the Rockhampton Courthouse yesterday morning, the source said, before the dramatic high-speed chase unfolded (see timeline this page) and simmered into the night.
Yesterday morning police officers had spotted the gunman driving a silver Prado truck in Fitzroy St, where he fired shots at them from a "high-powered" rifle.
It was believed there was a warrant out for his arrest.
Police cars chased the fugitive towards the Yeppen roundabout and south onto the Bruce Hwy before he made his way towards Mt Morgan on the Burnett Hwy.
It was here the fugitive's vehicle reached speeds up to 150kmh.
Det Insp Shadlow said during the high-speed chase, the Prado overtook cars; side-swiping some in his path.
Once he reached Bouldercombe, the gunman dumped his silver Prado at a house on the Burnett Hwy.
Following the chase, Rockhampton fire crews were called to bushfires at Struck Oil.
Det Insp Shadlow said the suspect could have played a part in lighting the fires, but that was still being investigated.
At 8.25pm last night, police were still searching for the gunman in the Struck Oil area, where they had set up containment lines around 6ha of thick bushland.
When The Morning Bulletin spoke to Det Insp Shadlow last night, police still had a large area from the Burnett Hwy-Poison Creek Rd turnoff, at the base of the Mt Morgan Range, blocked off.
He said more than 30 Rockhampton region police officers were on scene.
No houses were burnt down or damaged, but cars and caravans were destroyed, a Queensland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said last night.
The man is known to the police. He is Caucasian, about 183cm tall, has short brown hair and several tattoos on his arms, chest and the front of his neck.
A specialist police team from Brisbane flew into Rockhampton yesterday to assist local detectives and officers.
If you have information that could help the police, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.