Police investigating a ‘terrorism event’ have probed whether the knife Rahge Abdi wielded at police had been used to murder an elderly couple.
Police investigating a ‘terrorism event’ have probed whether the knife Rahge Abdi wielded at police had been used to murder an elderly couple.

Cops study knife link in homegrown terror probe

Police investigating a "terrorism event" were yesterday examining whether the knife Raghe Abdi wielded at police had been used to murder an elderly couple in their home.

Detectives spent Friday doorknocking residents in the Parkinson area over fears there could have been other people attacked in their homes in the 14 hours Abdi spent at large.

The 22-year-old student was killed by police early on Thursday after they approached him on the Logan Motorway following reports he was walking among traffic.

Dashboard video footage provided to the media yesterday showed several seconds of Abdi walking backwards as two police officers attempted to coax him to safety.

The Brisbane student had been on bail since September after being charged with offences relating to a counter-terrorism investigation.

Dashcam footage from the moments before Raghe Abdi was shot on the Logan Motorway on Thursday morning. Picture: Supplied
Dashcam footage from the moments before Raghe Abdi was shot on the Logan Motorway on Thursday morning. Picture: Supplied

Police believed Abdi was planning to travel to Somalia to fight for Al-Shabaab, an ISIS-inspired terrorist organisation.

He was found at the airport with a one-way ticket, a laptop and three mobile phones that had been wiped.

Police also alleged Abdi had told his mother he could no longer live with his family in Brisbane because they were "non-believers".

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford said police were still trying to determine why Abdi, who had complied with his strict bail conditions for the previous three months, had suddenly cut off his GPS tracker.

She said detectives believed they could link him to the murders of Maurice and Zoe Antill, who were found dead with "significant injuries" in their Parkinson home on Thursday.

The Courier-Mail understands the Antills had been savagely attacked with a knife.

Ms Linford said police were examining whether Abdi removed the knife from the Antills' home and later used it to threaten police when they approached him on the motorway.

She confirmed Abdi had shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he lunged at police with the knife.

Police at the Parkinson home of Maurice and Zoe Antill. Picture: Tara Croser
Police at the Parkinson home of Maurice and Zoe Antill. Picture: Tara Croser

"We are now treating this matter as a terrorism event," Ms Linford said. "I want to stress that nothing else has been uncovered at this point in time that would indicate there are any other persons involved in this terrorism event."

Ms Linford said the bodies of the Antills were discovered after a medical facility reported that they had not turned up to an appointment.

"Further examination of both that scene and the scene of the police shooting yesterday has uncovered for us what we believe to be a direct link between the two matters," Ms Linford said.

"That link relates to the fact there was an item located that we believe has come from Mr Abdi that we believe has come from the address of the deceased elderly couple.

"And we are also looking into items of property that were located at their address that we believe may be owned by Mr Abdi."

Ms Linford said police had found no link between Abdi and the elderly couple - both in their mid-80s - and were investigating whether they had been attacked at random.

Maurice Antill.
Maurice Antill.

"Can I ask anybody who is watching today or listening if you have family living in that Parkinson area it would be a good time to check in on them and make sure they are OK," Ms Linford said, adding that police had been walking the streets and knocking on doors.

"The doorknocking is for two reasons - one is to discover who may have heard or seen something that is going to be of value to the investigation.

"But also it's a welfare check on people who are living in the area because people will be in a heightened state of concern when we announce that we've had a terrorist event."

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee said Abdi had first come to police attention in early 2018.

"He was supportive of Islamic State and that was certainly the information that we received in terms of why he was intending or why he wished to travel offshore," Mr Lee said.

"We would allege in terms of a linkage … to Al-Shabaab which is an Islamic State-inspired terrorist organisation. The information that was available to us was he was intending to travel to Somalia to seek to join and fight with Al-Shabaab."

The scene of the police incident on the Logan Motorway on Thursday.
The scene of the police incident on the Logan Motorway on Thursday.

Mr Lee said that while Abdi was being monitored by authorities pending the court proceedings, they had not witnessed anything to indicate an "escalation of violence".

Abdi had not been charged with foreign incursion offences, with the AFP admitting it did not have enough evidence.

Instead, the former John Paul College student had spent more than 400 days in custody on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and refusing to hand over his phone passcode.

The charges related to attempts he had allegedly made to have his mother and a friend recant statements they had made to police.

Speaking anonymously yesterday, former JPC students said Abdi was well known at the school, and had shown leadership qualities, but was also a loner.

Abdi was also praised in federal parliamentary speeches after he played a role in setting up the prestigious school's unity council in 2014.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who was a backbencher in 2014, named Abdi in a speech as one of two "fine men" who were "concerned about the impact of events overseas" in the Logan area.

Abdi's father on Friday said his son was a peaceful person who had once had an identity crisis.

Muhammad Adbi held a press conference alongside Islamic leader Ali Kadri in Brisbane on Friday, disputing the police account of his son's death.

Muhammad Abdi said his son had once had an identity crisis. Picture: Tara Croser.
Muhammad Abdi said his son had once had an identity crisis. Picture: Tara Croser.

Mr Abdi said his son had gone through a period of questioning his identity, but that did not make him a terrorist.

"He was looking at his identity in terms of his background, his beliefs and his environment that he's born into in Australia," Mr Abdi said.

The family say they will have an independent autopsy conducted to "set the standard" for the police.

Mr Kadri backed calls for an independent inquiry and criticised use of the term "terrorism" by police and media.

Mr Kadri also said linking the Parkinson murders to terrorism was "premature in the absence of any solid evidence in the public domain".

Originally published as Cops study knife link in homegrown terror probe

Raghe Abdi
Raghe Abdi
News Corp Australia

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