A man accused of killing four men and injuring a woman in a terrifying shooting rampage across Darwin on Tuesday night has been identified as Ben Hoffmann, a 45-year-old local who was recently released on parole.
Hoffmann had been out of prison for just five months when he allegedly stormed the Palms Motel in Darwin and shot into rooms. He is accused of visiting a further four locations around the city and shooting people there.
The first emergency call was placed about 5.45pm, and Hoffmann reportedly called police himself just an hour later.
The alleged gunman, who allegedly has links to an outlaw bikie gang, was arrested shortly after and taken to the Royal Darwin Hospital where he remains in police custody as officers investigate the motive for his alleged crime.
Northern Territory Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said Hoffmann, who had only been out of jail for a few months and was still being monitored with an electric bracelet, had asked to be placed into protective custody.
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Ben Hoffmann (pictured), 45, allegedly killed four people during a shooting rampage on Tuesday evening and injured one other
Witnesses have recounted the terrifying moments they came face to face with the accused shooter, who was reportedly dressed in hi-vis clothing and wielding a sawn-off shotgun.
A recycling worker who witnessed his friend being fatally shot said he had been watching television in his unit at his work site when he heard a pounding at his door on Tuesday night.
Moments later, a man busted inside his home on Jolly Road in Woolner, and looked straight at him.
'I looked at him and thought: "F**k this is it",' Johnny Reid told The NT News.
'I thought I was dead for sure.'
But Hoffmann allegedly turned past him and shot his friend four times instead.
'I asked him what he was doing but he went right past me and shot my mate,' Mr Reid said.
'His body is still in there.'
Johnny Reid said he had been watching television in his work site unit at Woolner (pictured) when he came face to face with the alleged gunman, who allegedly then turned and shot his friend
Darwin Recycling manager Peter Boden, who also lives nearby, told the paper he saw the alleged gunman enter the unit, but didn't realise something was amiss until he heard the shots.
He raced to help, calling the police and breaking down doors until he found Mr Reid's home, but by then it was too late.
'I went in and found the body,' he said.
'I nearly tripped over the bloody thing.'
Maxime Campart, 31, told news.com.au he was inside the bottleshop opposite the Palms Motel paying for a drink when he heard the first two shots fire out.
The French chef said he thought the gunshots were fireworks and left the shop before hearing two more shots. He then heard a lady scream: 'Someone is shooting, get behind the bar.'
He and five others ducked for cover and desperately worked to ensure they survived the ordeal. One man opened the exit door, while Mr Campart grabbed his soccer helmet for protection.
The father-of-one said he watched as the 'very tall' accused shooter walked past the store, dressed in a white t-shirt.
He said while he was hiding, he was still confused as to what was happening, but was left devastated when he discovered the sounds he'd initially believed were fireworks had been gunshots, fatally fired at people.
'The shots I’d heard weren’t just fired into the air...they were into flesh and blood,' he said.
'Now I realise what I was hearing was people being shot dead.'
Hoffmann, who belongs to a 'respected' Darwin family, reportedly fell in with a 'bad crowd' during a rehab stint.
In the days before the shooting, the heavily-tattooed man was fired from his job at a roofing company after he repeatedly failed to show up for work, according to the NT News.
The man, who was known to police and was released on parole earlier this year, was arrested (pictured) after about an hour of terror that involved five locations
The shooting rampage is understood to have begun at the Palms Motel in Darwin, with the first call to emergency services lodged about 5.45pm on Tuesday
His mother had tried to help her son, Hoffmann's former boss said.
'His mum rang me and said: ''Can you please help him? Give him a second chance in life'',' he revealed on Tuesday.
'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''.'
He said he was in disbelief over what had happened.
The chaos began at the Palms Motel in Finniss St, just before 6pm, as Hoffmann, who is well known to police, allegedly began firing shots as he moved from room to room.
Emergency service vehicles were seen attending the scene in Darwin on Tuesday evening
The initial shooting unfolded in the city's inner suburbs just before 6pm, but there are reports of up to five further crime scenes (police attending the scene pictured)
A witness, who was allegedly confronted by Hoffmann, said he appeared calm as he moved through the property.
'We pulled up here and we heard a lot of banging and saw people scattering... all of a sudden we looked in the window here and (saw) a guy with a gun. We saw him walking calmly down through the unit blocks.
'(Police) went straight past him because they didn't know who he was. He was that calm.'
Facebook user John Rose said he witnessed a man 'shoot up the Palms Hotel'.
'We watched him like 20 feet away, calmly walk into the hotel room shoot the door open and then proceeded to shoot up every room,' he wrote.
Witness Matt James told the Today Show on Wednesday he had helped bandage the wounds of a woman who had been shot in the leg.
Mr James had been standing in the car park when