Brother shot on border was on counter-terror radar for 'at least two years'


One of two brothers shot by police at a campground on the Victoria-NSW border has been a person of interest to counter-terror investigators for at least two years, police have revealed.

The brothers, aged 19 and 30, who have only been in Victoria for a matter of weeks, were shot by police after a violent confrontation at a campground on the Victoria-NSW border on Wednesday afternoon.

The men were known to have fundamental beliefs and a hatred for police, Victoria's counter-terror boss Ross Guenther said.

The older brother had previously travelled to Bangladesh to marry before returning to Australia, Mr Guenther said.

The men, who are from a family of four brothers from South Australia, had travelled in NSW and Queensland, before recently moving to the Wodonga area.

The scene in Barnawartha North.

The scene in Barnawartha North.Credit:Mark Jesser/Border Mail

The men allegedly rammed a police car and lunged at officers with a knife and a tomahawk before both were shot by police.

Both men were taken to hospital in Albury. The 30-year-old man was later flown to The Alfred hospital, where he remained in a critical but stable condition on Thursday morning.

Victoria's Chief Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said counter-terrorism police had been trying to speak to the pair after learning they had recently relocated to Wodonga. One was wanted, he said, on an old warrant.

"In attempting to speak to them that this confrontation occurred," he said.

Mr Ashton said the officers involved in the confrontation were wearing body cameras and Victoria Police's Professional Standards Command would be reviewing the footage, with oversight from the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

Mr Guenther told radio station 3AW the brothers were known to hold "fundamental and rigid beliefs".

"These individuals have a very strong hatred for police," Mr Guenther said.

But he said that "based on what I know at this point in time I don't regard it as a terrorist event".

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the brother's had been "all over the country", including Queensland and South Australia.

Counter-terror detectives had spotted the pair at a service station in Barnawartha North, about 20 kilometres west of Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday afternoon.

They asked local police from Wodonga to help stop them, but the brothers allegedly rammed a local police and then threatened officers.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Clive Rust said the men lunged at officers with a knife and a tomahawk, before both were shot.

Mr Rust said one of the men then charged police with a weapon and was shot. He said police tried to negotiate with the second man "for a number of minutes" and used a taser and capsicum foam before he also allegedly lunged at police and was shot.

He could not yet say how many officers fired their weapons.

Mr Rust emphasised it was "standard procedure" and there was no ongoing terror investigation or threat to the public.

"We're treating this as a violent attack on police members and not a terrorism incident," he said.

He said the men were believed to have just moved from NSW to Victoria and "there was some indication" they were camping near the sleepy Murray River community.

He said police knew they were in the area "and that's why CT [counter-terrorism] investigators were up here trying to locate them, identify them and speak to them".

"They were making routine inquiries in order to touch base with them, talk to them, assess them and make a judgment on whether they posed any risk. It was purely a chance meeting that they identified their car at a service station.

"The matter's being investigated by the homicide squad with professional services command oversight and obviously the links and any motivation - all the details of the investigation - will eventually come to light, hopefully."

Police are on the scene of an incident at Barnawartha North.

Police are on the scene of an incident at Barnawartha North. Credit:Mark Jesser/Border Mail

No police were injured but they would receive pyschological support, Mr Rust said.

"We've got all our normal welfare support services and the Police Association and we will be very, very wary of making sure we look after them," he said.

"The work that the police do every day is risky and with situations involving radicalisation, terrorism, ice, drugs, people with mental health issues, confrontations, family violence – it's risky work our members do and they do a wonderful job."

A person near the scene in Barnawartha North described a swarm of police around the usually sleepy township on Wednesday afternoon.

"I saw police cars and honestly they were going every way – they were going one way and then going the other way," the person said.