Police suggest alleged gunman’s grudge
POLICE have revealed the alleged Darwin mass shooter was seeking out one particular person when he embarked on an hour-long shooting rampage that claimed four lives.
Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw indicated at a media briefing today that the alleged mass shooter, identified as local man Ben Hoffman, 45, may have been on the hunt for one particular individual.
Police said multiple witnesses said he was looking for certain people or a person.
"It's based on some witnesses who have indicated he was looking for certain people. One in particular we know was interstate and used to reside at a particular address and that's why we've undertaken that line of inquiry," police said.
"Initial indications believe it may be that he was looking for certain individuals."
Witnesses have said the gunman went "room-to-room" inside the hotel, and was screaming out for "Alex".
Police confirmed the man the shooter was looking for was named Alex, and was interstate.
"We've located that individual and we've spoken to him."
Police also indicated that there are victims who were "innocent", indicating they were not known to the alleged shooter, who has previously been incarcerated.
Police are still establishing the number of victims known to the alleged gunman as they liaise with families.
"We know he was looking for one individual," Commissioner Kewshaw said today.
The Commissioner said they were looking at whether the killings were motivated by jail grudges, and drug related vendettas.
Mr Hoffman, a heavily tattooed roofer, was admitted to hospital on Monday, the day before he allegedly committed the mass shooting. Police were not able to confirm why he was admitted.
The accused, who police are yet to interview but plan to charge with four counts of murder, comes from a respected Darwin family.
How the 45-year-old's life spun so far off the rails is not yet clear, but speaking at a press conference last night, NT Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said it wasn't Hoffman's first brush with the law.
He told reporters the alleged gunman had been out on parole after being freed from jail earlier this year, and police were now looking at possible links to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Today, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the accused had been released from a recent 14-day custodial sentence at some point in the last month. He was on parole, and was wearing an electronic bracelet at the time of the attack, according to police.
But police said they were unable to use the device to track him during the hour it took to find and arrest the alleged shooter because it was not "a tactical device".
He had previously breached parole for breaking curfew, for which he was given a 14-day custodial sentence, the commissioner said.
The Northern Territory government has ordered a review of the 103 people currently on parole following a mass shooting in Darwin.
"We've asked for a detailed report from the Parole Board of the alleged offender and directed an immediate review of the 103 people currently on parole," Chief Minister Michael Gunner said today.
"We've directed an immediate review of everyone on electronic monitoring." There are 196 people being actively monitored in the NT.
Of the 103 on parole, 46 were also being electronically monitored. "This work will be thorough. It will be completed by the end of next week. While we have no reason to believe an event like this will occur again, it is critical we make every effort that it does not," Mr Gunner said.
Police confirmed Hoffman had his share of brushes with the law, but when he was released on parole in January after spending more than a year behind bars, things began to look up.
His well-known family had been able to get him a steady job. But, it didn't last.
It is understood, in recent days, Hoffman had been let go from his job with a local roofing company after continually failing to show up for work.
The NT News reports Hoffman's mum had lined the job up for him through a family friend earlier this year - to give her son a "second chance in life" - not long after he was released on parole.
However, his former boss spoke to the newspaper, explaining why he had to let him go.
"He wasn't coming in to work," he said. "I basically said a few days ago - I told him, 'You have to go elsewhere, you have to start looking for other work and start over'."
Stunned local resident Leah Potter said almost everybody in Darwin knew Hoffman and his family.
"He's a local Darwinite that all of us know," she told the Today show this morning.
However, she added his run-ins with the law were also common knowledge.
"It's not a secret. You can find out any of this information just on the sentencing report online," she said.
"He was in jail for a violent crime - same sort of thing. He walked through a suburb attacking people violently and he was jailed for that. He was released in January. All this is public knowledge.
"This was a man with a lot of problems. We all knew he had his own specific problems. And he had a history of it."
The Northern Territory government has ordered a review of the 103 people currently on parole following a mass shooting.
"We've asked for a detailed report from the Parole Board of the alleged offender and directed an immediate review of the 103 people currently on parole," Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Wednesday.
"We've directed an immediate review of everyone on electronic monitoring."
Four men were killed and a woman was rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds to her legs after last night's shooting rampage.
Parts of the city were thrown into lockdown just after 5.45pm, as police scoured the city to find Hoffman who was allegedly armed with a sawn-off shotgun.
Mr Kershaw said Hoffman was well-known to police and was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet as he evaded officers through Darwin.
After being on the run for more than an hour, Hoffman called the NT Police Duty Superintendent and asked to be placed in protective custody, Mr Kershaw confirmed.
"We do believe he was trying to hand himself in," Mr Kershaw said.
Hoffman was eventually tackled at a city roundabout by heavily armed tactical response group police dressed in camouflage gear.
Video taken at the scene shows him covered in blood, no longer wearing a shirt and lying on his back as he tries to kick the rifle of one of the police officers.
He was tasered at the scene before being taken away in a police vehicle.
Police are now planning to charge Hoffman with four counts of murder.