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Dad of brothers shot by cops died in police siege at brothel

The Age logo The Age 13/06/2019 Erin Pearson, Sally Rawsthorne and Tammy Mills

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Two brothers wanted by counter-terrorism police and shot by officers in a stand-off on the Victoria- NSW border are the sons of a man who died in a notorious interstate police siege.

Five years after their father, Rodney Clavell, shot himself after taking hostages in an Adelaide brothel, brothers Joshua Clavell and his teenage brother Joel were shot and seriously injured following a chance meeting with police in a country camp ground on Wednesday.

Police said Joshua, 30, and Joel, 19, both held extremist Islamic beliefs.

a car parked on pavement near a forest: Police at the campground in Barnawartha North. © Mark Jesser/Border Mail Police at the campground in Barnawartha North. Joshua, known to have a hatred of police, is considered high risk by Victorian counter terrorism investigators who have been watching him for at least two years.

They were aware Joshua had moved into Victoria just weeks ago after he was released from remand prison in NSW in February this year.

Victorian investigators travelled up to the border town of Albury-Wodonga to meet their NSW counterparts to assess the risk that Joshua posed, senior police said on Thursday.

a close up of a man smiling for the camera: Joshua Clavell, left, and his teenage brother Joel. © NIne News Joshua Clavell, left, and his teenage brother Joel.

Seemingly by chance, counter terrorism detectives were at a petrol station at Barnawartha, west of Wodonga, when they spotted the brothers filling up their car.

The brothers recognised the detectives were police officers and took off, ramming a police car before local officers tracked the brothers to the Richardson Bend nature reserve on the banks of the Murray River.

Attempts to subdue the brothers failed, police said, before they lunged at the officers - two of them from the small police station of Rutherglen - with a knife and a tomahawk.

a person posing for the camera: Rodney Clavell. © South Australia Police Rodney Clavell.

The older brother allegedly charged police first and was shot. Police tried to negotiate with the teenager for a number of minutes and used a Taser and capsicum spray before he also allegedly lunged at officers and was shot.

Joshua is in a stable condition in hospital in Albury and his younger brother is fighting for his life in The Alfred hospital in Melbourne.

The violent confrontation was captured on the officers' body cameras.

a car driving down a dirt road: The scene in Barnawartha North. © Mark Jesser/Border Mail The scene in Barnawartha North. Police are now investigating whether the brothers had taken up residence at the camping ground in an attempt to "get off the grid", Victorian counter terrorism boss Ross Guenther said.

"Perhaps they felt they were under too much spotlight," he said.

Mr Guenther said the older Clavell brother had previously travelled to Bangladesh to marry before returning to Australia.

The men are from a family of four brothers and police believe Joshua had indoctrinated two of his three brothers into the radical form of Islam, Mr Guenther said.

"The older brother made a commitment to this form of Islam several years ago, he sought to impact that thinking onto his brothers. That's occurred over a time period of several years," Mr Guenther said.

"That older individual in our terminology would be at the threat level that is very high.

"We have over 100 people that we monitor at various levels. He was definitely one of those on that list."

Their father was considered South Australia's most wanted person at the time he took four women hostage in the Adelaide brothel in 2014. The 12-hour siege shot down part of Adelaide's CBD.

Joshua, who has previous links to a South Australian bikie gang and a known hatred of police, has not been charged with any terrorism offences previously, Mr Guenther said.

His most recent arrest was in Sydney in August last year where he was charged with robbery, larceny and intimidation offences.

"At that time, Corrective Services NSW identified that [he] had already been radicalised and shared this information with other law enforcement agencies," a spokeswoman said.

The robbery charge was later dropped, and he was found guilty on the other charges. He appeared in Burwood Local Court in February where he was released without any conviction recorded.

"This was the only time the [he was] in CSNSW custody," the spokeswoman said.

Mr Guenther said it was too early to say whether Joshua was associated with any terrorist organisations.

"I haven't excluded this is a CT (counter terrorism) investigation, [but] on the face of it, on my briefings, I don't believe at this point that it is," he said.

Victorian Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the internal watchdog, professional standards command, would review the body camera footage with oversight from the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

Mr Guenther praised the police involved.

"They would’ve left the office yesterday morning not thinking they would be confronting this situation," he said.

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