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Australian police charge suspect after four killed in Darwin

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian police charged a 45-year-old man with four counts of murder on Thursday after a gunman killed four people in the northern city of Darwin this week.

A court hearing is scheduled for Friday, Northern Territory Police said in a statement.

A gunman killed four people and wounded another person in Darwin on Tuesday in one of the country’s most violent attacks in years.

The suspect was stopped for speeding on Tuesday morning before the shootings. Police did not notice anything unusual and let him go, Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw told a news conference.

The suspect, who had been on parole since January, had obtained ammunition and a knife through an associate that same day, Kershaw said.

The victims included a roofer, a student from Lebanon, a New Zealand citizen and another person who has not been formally identified, according to media reports.

Police identified five crime scenes, including pubs, a park and a convenience store.

Australia has some of the world’s toughest gun control laws, adopted after its worst mass shooting, when a gunman killed 35 people at Port Arthur in the island state of Tasmania in 1996.

A murder-suicide last year in Western Australia in which seven members of a family were killed was the country’s worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur incident.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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