Joseph Schwab

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Joseph Schwab
Born 1960 - 1961
Died June 1987
Fitzroy Crossing, Australia
Cause of death
Shot to death by Western Australia Police Tactical Response Group
Other names "The Kimberley Killer"
Victims 5
Span of killings
June 1987–June 1987
Country Australia
State(s) Northern Territory, Western Australia

Joseph "Josef" Schwab (1961 - June 1987)was a German tourist and spree killer who murdered five people in the Top End region of the Northern Territory and Western Australia in June 1987. Schwab was dubbed "The Kimberley Killer" by the Australian press after the region in which he committed the murders.


The gunman’s first victims were Marcus and Lance Bullen, a father and son, who were shot dead with a high-powered rifle on June 9, while scouting for a fishing location on the banks of the Victoria River, and their bodies later found in shallow graves.[1][2] Police investigations failed to uncover any motive for the killings and roadblocks were set up across the area, but the killer escaped capture.[3]

Just days later three more tourists – Phillip Charles Walkemeyer and his fiancé Julie Anne Warren, and their friend Terry Kent Bolt – were shot dead similar circumstances at the Pentecost River Crossing near Wyndham, Western Australia.[4][5] Schwab drove their vehicle away from the scene and then set it on fire. A seven-member team of police officers from the Tactical Response Group and an officer from the forensic division were sent by chartered aircraft from Perth to Kununurra to assist Kimberley police with the investigation.[6][7] It was believed that the weapon used in the murders was a Ruger Mini-14 .223 semi-automatic rifle.

An outback helicopter pilot, Peter Leutenegger, from Napier Downs station,[8] raised the alarm after spotting a camouflaged vehicle in bushland near Fitzroy Crossing.[3][6] Police, unsure if the hidden vehicle belonged to the gunman they were looking for, approached it cautiously and decided to call on a police aircraft to fly over the site in an attempt to flush the occupant out into the open. A man armed with a semi-automatic weapon emerged from the bushes and fired at the police and the Cessna 182 police plane. Police returned fire, killing the gunman.[3]

Police later identified the gunman as Joseph Schwab, a 26-year-old German tourist. A security guard in his native country,[9] his motive for the killings is unknown.[3]


Names of victims:

  • Marcus Bullen
  • Lance Bullen
  • Phillip Walkemeyer
  • Julie Warren
  • Terry Bolt


The crime was featured in series 1 (2007), episode 10 of Crime Investigation Australia entitled "The Kimberley Killer".[10]