A US man who spouted “Christian end-of-days ideology” to terrorists who shot dead two police officers in Queensland has been identified as Donald Day Jr.
The Arizona man is alleged to have years of contact with Wieambilla residents Stacey and Gareth Train, who alongside Gareth’s brother Nathanial Train shot dead Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow, as well as local man Alan Dare in December 2022.
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Day was arrested in his home town of Heber, Arizona, on Friday, before being indicted by a grand jury on two counts of making interstate threats.
“From January 2022 to February 2023, Day used social media platforms to express a desire to incite violence and threaten a variety of groups and individuals, including law enforcement and government authorities,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement on Wednesday (US time).
Gareth and Stacey Train uploaded a video on a now-deleted YouTube account hours after the fatal shootings, referring to police as “devils and demons” and sending a message to someone called “Don”.
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According to the department, the first count against Day alleges he threatened “any law enforcement official who came to his residence” in a YouTube video in the aftermath of the tragedy.
The second count alleges he threatened to kill the head of the World Health Organisation in February 2023, “calling on others to join him” in a social media video.
“Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release,” the department said.
On Wednesday, Queensland police and the FBI held a joint press conference in Brisbane to inform of Day’s arrest.
Gareth Train began following the 58-year-old’s YouTube account from May 2020.
Donald Day Jr has been arrested in Arizona over the fatal shooting of two police officers and a local man in Wieambilla, Queensland. Credit: 7NEWSPolice officers Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold were shot dead in the ambush. Credit: Queensland Police Union/Facebook
The men began commenting on each other’s videos a year later, Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon said.
“Between May 2021 and December 2022, the man repeatedly sent messages containing Christian end-of-days ideology to Gareth, and then later to Stacey,” she said.
The Trains also accessed the man’s older YouTube account which was created in 2014, police said.
The Trains subscribed to a broad Christian fundamentalist belief system known as premillennialism.
“We know that the offenders executed a religiously motivated terrorist attack in Queensland,” Assistant Commissioner Scanlon said.
“They were motivated by a Christian extremist ideology.”
Premillennialists hold an apocalyptic belief that the world will go through a period of calamities before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The joint Queensland Police-FBI investigation is continuing after evidence was seized at the Arizona property.
“The FBI has a long memory and an even longer reach,” FBI representative Nitiana Mann said in Brisbane on Wednesday.
“The FBI and QPS worked jointly and endlessly to bring this man to justice, and he will face the crimes he is alleged to have perpetrated.”
The Wieambilla property where the deadly incident unfolded on Monday. Credit: 7NEWS
The Wieambilla shootings were described as the nation’s first Christian domestic terror attack.
Dressed in camouflage fatigues, the heavily armed Trains rigged motion sensors along the entrance to the property to warn them of police arriving.
Constables Arnold, 26, and McCrow, 29, were wounded then fatally shot at close range within minutes of entering the property for a welfare check on a missing person.
Two other officers, constables Randall Kirk and Keely Brough, escaped under heavy fire.
The Trains lit fires in an attempt to flush out a female officer who took cover in nearby bushland.
Dare, 58, was shot dead when he attended the property to investigate the blaze.
Terrorists Stacey, Gareth and Nathaniel Train were shot dead at Wieambilla. Credit: 7NEWS
Assistant Commissioner Scanlon said the state coroner and the victims’ families had been notified of the arrest.
She said the investigation had a long way to go but described the man’s arrest as extremely important.
“This is a terribly tragic event and with the loss of lives we need to understand the why,” she said.