Central Queensland tragedy: Mother may have shot herself before crashing car

July 8, 2010 - 6:15AM

A central Queensland woman may have shot herself before crashing her car minutes after allegedly shooting her ex-husband and killing her eight-month-old baby on Tuesday night.

The news of the chilling incident shocked the central Queensland community yesterday while those involved in trying to save the child were left in utter distress.

Yesterday, investigators found a small handgun at the scene of a crash that killed the 22-year-old mother, suspected of killing her baby son and shooting her ex-husband in the stomach in Gracemere, near Rockhampton, about 7.50pm on Tuesday.

It’s believed the baby suffered a gunshot wound to his head, but police would not confirm or deny this yesterday, nor would they comment on whether the woman had a gunshot wound herself, as they wait for the results from autopsies.

The man, 36, who suffered a gunshot wound to his stomach, is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing a number of operations at Rockhampton Base Hospital yesterday. He is no longer under police guard after assisting detectives with their inquiries.

Regional Crime Coordinator Jon Wacker yesterday confirmed a gun had been found at the crash site, but forensic testing was still needed to determine whether it was the weapon used in the double shooting.

Inspector Wacker said the couple had been married for "a number of months" before they were divorced late last year.

‘‘Any death in the community is a tragedy, in particular when a young child is involved,’’ he said.

‘‘It impacts not only on the family members involved, but the community and my staff who have to investigate it.’’

Neighbours had earlier told of desperate cries for help after the baby boy was found shot and bleeding on the floor of his home on Tuesday night.

He was located after a man, who’d also been shot, staggered to a neighbouring house for help.

Witnesses reported a woman fleeing the home in a ute shortly after the shootings.

The baby and the man were taken to Rockhampton Base Hospital, but the boy was pronounced dead on arrival.

Neighbours have told of hearing a gunshot, and then screams for help when another neighbour discovered the boy bleeding on the floor of the home.

‘‘We only heard one gunshot, but apparently there were more,’’ Jodiee Bennett, 35, who lives opposite the house where the shootings happened, told AAP.

‘‘A man went in there and found the little fella on the floor.

‘‘There was screaming and everything ... because someone had found the baby hurt. They were calling out to get an ambulance.

‘‘They thought he had hit his head on the tiles, but apparently that was one of the gunshot wounds that the baby copped in the head.

’’She said her own three children were very upset. It’s really freaked our kids out.’’

Ms Bennett said her husband saw a ute drive away from the home a short time after the gunshot was heard.

Another neighbour, Lisa Willis, who lives three doors from the scene, said she arrived home to her normally quiet street to find police everywhere.

''There was cop cars everywhere, I couldn’t get into my driveway,'' Mrs Willis told brisbanetimes.com.au.

''They had the house [where the shooting occurred] all ribboned off.''

Mrs Willis said she had seen a woman at the home where the shootings occurred.

''I saw her walking the baby with a pram and some sort of a dog,'' Mrs Willis said.

''My husband noticed ... that she never changed her clothes, she was wearing the same clothes every day.''

A major incident room has been set up at the Rockhampton police station.