Crossbows and bows stolen in one of two ram raids of a Darwin business have been used to shoot at least four people in Wadeye, sources have told the NT Independent, but the thefts and the shootings have not been made public by the NT Police in a continuation of authorities suppressing information about violence in the remote community.
Eight bows and four crossbows were stolen from Mitchells Adventure store in Berrimah on Monday, with eight bows and two crossbows stolen on June 2, along with about 200 bolts and arrows in total.
Management said stolen cars were driven through the front gates both times. In the first break-in, one of the front windows was smashed, and the second time the front door was pried open with a crowbar and the glass in one of the doors smashed as well. They were forced to close the store on both days to clean up.
They said the weapons from the first break-in had been taken to Wadeye.
Several other sources confirmed crossbows stolen in Darwin had been taken to the remote community which has been the scene of violence for months, which had left up to 400 people homeless and at least 98 homes damaged.
And that at least four people had been shot with the stolen weapons.
One source said an NT Police plane flew into the community on Sunday night, followed by another plane on Monday.
“They are proper carbon arrows with metal heads, they will kill they aren’t toy arrows,” another source said.
In late April, the NT Independent reported NT Police continued to suppress information about violence in Wadeye, issuing a press release an hour and a half after being sent questions about the ongoing rioting, but which lacked vital information about bloodshed in the community and the reasons why the Territory Response Group had not been sent in to restore safety.
In that release, NT Police admitted there was “significant damage to property, including extensive damage to 37 residences”.
In late May, the NT Independent reported sources had said more than 400 people were still displaced, with hundreds living in tents on the edge of town too scared to buy food; the school had been closed after a teacher was assaulted, a man was speared in the leg and the Health Clinic attacked, children were walking around with homemade tomahawks, a worker’s camp was ram-raided, and at least 45 houses had been left unliveable due to damage from riots and ongoing violence, none of which was made public by the NT Government or NT Police.
Police put out a media statement at that time in which Senior Sergeant Bradley Fox said about 300 people gathered on the oval to fight using blunt and edged weapons the day before and had to be stopped with chemicals. He did not detail what weapons were allegedly used.
Departmental information obtained by the NT Independent on May 23 showed a total of 98 houses had been damaged, with 59 of those significantly damaged, including 18 that had been burnt. There were 39 that had minor damage and have people back living in them.
On June 9, in her first visit the community as the Police Minister, Kate Worden posted on Facebook about meeting police and volunteers but made no mention of the ongoing crisis in the community, which her federal Labor colleague and NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy called a “humanitarian situation”.
NT Police did not respond to questions about the stolen bows and crossbows or why they did not report the break-ins in accordance with their policies.