The man suspected of killing four people in a massacre in Darwin. Picture: Supplied
The man suspected of killing four people in a massacre in Darwin. Picture: Supplied

Alleged shooter’s downward spiral

THE man suspected of last night perpetrating the worst mass murder in the Territory's recent past is the troubled son of a respected local family.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, spent last night under heavy police guard after personally calling NT Police Superintendent Lee Morgan to negotiate handing himself in.

His last moments of freedom came before he was tackled to the ground by heavily armed police.

Detectives were planning to charge the 45-year-old alleged shooter with four counts of murder, charges which, if proven will likely see him die behind bars.

The heavily tattooed man has long been known to local police and has links to outlaw motorcycle gangs.

He had been working for a local roofing company until he was sacked in recent days, his bosses having grown fed up at him not showing up to work.

The alleged gunman's long-suffering mum lined the job up for him through a family friend earlier this year, shortly after her son was released on parole.

The man's former boss, who asked not to be named, said: "His mum rang me and said: 'Can you please help him? Give him a second chance in life'."

"He wasn't coming in to work and 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'."

"I can't see how I this could have happened."

The alleged shooter drove a white Toyota Hilux ute borrowed from a friend's plumbing company during the shotgun rampage.

Multiple sources said the shooter fell into a bad crowd during a stint in a Darwin rehab clinic, and never fully got his life back on track.

Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw last night said detectives were still trying to ascertain what the alleged shooter's motivation might have been.

"I'm not going to speculate, and that's something we've got to work through with our detectives," Mr Kershaw said.

"This is one individual who has acted individually, and has unfortunately taken the action he has."

"He is an individual who is well known to police and has a number of interactions adverse with the police force, so he is well known to us.

"I did speak this evening with the Corrections Commissioner, my information is around January of this year he was released on parole."