UPDATE 5.30pm: A DAIRY farmer who murdered his partner and shot two others before killing himself in northern Victoria, had no criminal record, no intervention orders against him or a gun licence.
Greg Murray, the eldest of five children from a prominent local farming family, shot his ex-partner and her husband after forcing his way into their Kerang house where six children were staying on Saturday night. His body was found in Murrabit West, along with his partner's, early Sunday morning.
Murray, 43, had been battling with his former partner for access to their three children, a family friend said. He had lost his house in the 2011 floods, but had worked hard to rebuild, alongside his brother Chris and his parents, Stuart and Rosemary, who also lost property.
"He came to work very depressed one day because it had been difficult for him to see his kids," the friend said.
"Obviously he's kept getting denied, denied and denied and he's just snapped.
"He's a good kid from a good family and it's just a bloody tragedy."
Inspector Jamie Templeton said: "There was nothing to give us any indication. There was no history or signs of violence".
"We couldn't possibly see anything coming. This is a horrific crime, and traumatic for all involved. It’s a terrible set of circumstances."
Murray went armed with a shotgun he took from a relative to the home of his ex-wife in Kerang at 11.30pm on Saturday, police said. The couple had split up about six years ago and the woman, 42, was living with her new husband, a local butcher aged 47, in Lloyd Street.
There were six children inside the house at the time - three to the dairy farmer and his former partner, two from his former partner and her new husband and a friend of one of the children.
"The children were actually in the lounge room and heard the knock at the door and woke up the adults in the house," Inspector Templeton said.
The new husband saw the shotgun in the farmer's hands "straight away".
"There was a very short conversation around the lines of him wanting to come out of the house, which he declined, and the shotgun was fired," Inspector Templeton said.
His ex-wife was shot in the hand and neck before her new husband, who suffered pellet wounds to his chest and shoulder, and a neighbour wrestled the gun off the farmer.
The ex-wife and her husband were hospitalised.
Inspector Templeton said the children, aged between three and 14, stayed in the lounge room and did not witness the incident. They are now in the care of family.
Police said Murray fled after the struggle, taking a second gun with him to his property 30 kilometres away in Salau Road, Murrabit West.
He dumped his car, which had not run out of fuel, and walked a kilometre to his house, which is on the same property as his parents'. When police arrived at 4.20am, they found his 41-year-old partner, from nearby Pental Island, dead inside and Murray's body inside another car parked in the carport. It is unclear whether Murray killed his partner before travelling to Kerang.
The Murray family declined to comment on the shootings.
The family friend said that although Murray had separated from his partner before the floods, there had been several relationship break-downs and significant strain placed on the region since the disaster.
"A lot of s--- has happened since then and whether that's a part of all this, I don't know."
Inspector Templeton said police did not know Murray had a second shotgun until "some time later" when his relatives discovered two firearms were missing from their property.
A police officer from Swan Hill was sent out to the Murrabit West property shortly after the shooting in Kerang, but remained at the dumped car a kilometre away from the house while more police were called-in.
"We were trying to make contact with him (the gunman) all the way through it," Inspector Templeton said.
"Where he was in relation to his vehicle was the big unknown and the risk to the safety of the police members involved was very high.
He said police were yet to speak with his ex-wife, who was flown to hospital in Melbourne to be treated.
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- The Age
UPDATE 3PM: A Murrabit West man and a woman are dead following what police have described as a murder-suicide.
The 43-year-old dairy farmer was found dead in a vehicle parked in the carport of a Salau Road property at 4.30am, suffering from gunshot wounds.
Police found a 41-year-old woman inside the rural house, also dead from gunshot wounds.
The deaths of the two people followed a shooting at a Kerang house hours earlier, which left a 42-year-old woman – the former wife of the Murrabit West man - with injuries to her hand and neck.
The Kerang woman’s current partner, who also lives at the Lloyd Street house, received pellet wounds to his chest and shoulder as a result of the incident.
Three of the dead man’s children, who live with their mother, two children from the relationship between the occupants of the Lloyd Street house, and a friend of one of the children, were in the house at the time of the incident.
“There was a knock on the door (at around 11.30pm Saturday), the children were actually in the loungeroom and heard the knock at the door and woke up the adults in the house,” Police Inspector Jamie Templeton said.
“The occupant identified the man, who he knew the person to be, and saw the shotgun straight away.
“There was a very short conversation around the lines of him wanting to come out of the house, which he declined, and the shotgun was fired.”
The Kerang woman’s husband and a neighbour successfully wrestled the gun off the accused, before he left the weapon at the scene and fled.
A blue utility the man drove away from the incident at Kerang was found parked along Salau Road, one kilometre from the man’s home.
The children, ranging in ages from three to 14, were in the loungeroom of the Kerang house at the time of the shooting and did not witness the incident.
“This is a horrific crime, and traumatic for all involved. It’s a terrible set of circumstances,” Inspector Templeton said.
You’ve got two people dead and a significant injury to another person. You’ve also got children significantly at risk, so it’s a pretty bad situation.”
Police confirmed there had been no prior history of violence between the accused gunman and his ex-wife, whose marriage ended five to six year ago.
Investigations are continuing as to how the accused – who did not own any weapons and did not possess a gun license - accessed the two weapons used in the separate shootings.
“We’re still making enquiries as to where the guns came from, yet we believe the guns came from a family member who did not know the firearms had been taken,” Inspector Templeton said.
Forensic squad members at the Murrabit West crime scene are yet to determine the times of death of both the man and woman.
“Ongoing support for the family involved (in the Kerang shooting) is very important, as there is going to be an immediate rush as to making sure people are supported and cared for, but I thing going forward making sure that welfare and wellbeing is supplied and administered,” Inspector Templeton said.
“This will affect the families involved more than others, but there will be a ripple effect in the community.”
UPDATE 1.25PM: Police have confirmed six children were present at the Kerang house at the time of a struggle and shooting at 11.30pm on Saturday night.
A man shot and injured his ex-wife and her husband before police later found two bodies at a Murrabit West property.
Three children from the shooters' relationship with his ex-wife were present in the Kerang house on the night, along with two children from the ex-wife's next relationship.
A sixth child was also at the house as a friend.
The children were aged from three to 14.
Police also confirmed there had been no history of family violence associated with the family.
EARLIER 12.20PM: Children are believed to have witnessed a shooting in northern Victoria on Saturday night that police said led to the deaths of two people.
A man and a woman were found dead at a property in Murrabit West at 4.20am on Sunday.
Police said the man had shot and injured his ex-wife and her husband hours earlier at another home in nearby Kerang.
Inspector Jamie Templeton told the ABC that children may have witnessed the struggle and shotgun blast during the first shootings.
"The whole situation was extremely nasty," Inspector Templeton said.
"It's a horrible situation, traumatic for all parties and I understand there were children that may have been present at the home in Kerang that may have witnessed the struggle and the shotgun blast."
The shooting spree began at 11.30pm on Saturday when police said the man, believed to be aged in his 40s, shot his ex-wife, aged 40, in her neck and hand at her Lloyd Street home in Kerang.
Her husband, 47, wrestled and disarmed the gunman and was shot in the shoulder during the struggle.
The couple were taken to hospital.
Police said gunman fled the scene after the struggle, taking a second gun with him to the home in Salau Road in Murrabit West about 30 kilometres away.
As part of the investigation into the shooting, police visited the Murrabit West property and found the gunman dead in his car and the body of a woman inside the house.
Police said the woman was yet to be identified.
- The Age
EARLIER: A man and woman have been found dead at a property in Murrabit West, north of Kerang.
It follows an incident where another man and a woman were injured in a shooting in Kerang last night.
Police discovered the bodies at the Murrabit West address on Salau Road about 4.20am on Sunday morning while investigating the Kerang shooting.
On Saturday night, a man attended a residential address at Lloyd Street, Kerang around 11.30pm.
The man fired a shotgun, injuring a woman inside the house.
The woman suffered an injury to her hand and neck and was flown to hospital in Melbourne.
A man suffered a gun shot wound to his shoulder after wrestling the gunman.
The investigation led police to the address in Salau Road where they discovered the bodies of the two people.
Local detectives are currently at the rural property.
The deceased man and woman are yet to be identified.
Investigators are not looking for any other person in relation to the incidents.