Melbourne: An Australian community was in shock on Thursday after a man killed his 11-year-old son following cricket practice before being shot dead by police in front of horrified onlookers, including children.
Luke Batty was beaten, reportedly with a cricket bat to the head, soon after training with his junior team on Wednesday evening at the Tyabb oval on the Mornington Peninsula, 100 kilometres (60 miles) southeast of Melbourne.
He suffered significant injuries and died at the scene. Reports said he was also stabbed, although this could not be confirmed.
Police said they arrived to find the father, 54, armed with a knife. When capsicum, or pepper spray failed to subdue him, he was shot once in the chest.
The man was airlifted to hospital but died early Thursday, leaving a traumatised wife and mother who was reportedly in the area when the attack took place.
"I confirm that the male shot by police is the father of the child who is deceased and we`re not looking for anyone else," police commander Doug Fryer told reporters.
"I can say the injuries are significant, clearly they caused his death, quite brutal, but I can`t go into exactly what they were."
He added: "We`re just putting the pieces together still."
Reports said the father was estranged from his wife and a custody battle was underway. They said he had a history of violence and was living in his car.
"The death of a young child is always going to be horrific. The reality is I don`t know how the mother is going to cope with this," said Fryer.
"I can`t go into the specifics and what culminated to cause the death of the young man or even the events leading up to the shooting of the father. I can say the homicide squad are here, taking primacy of the investigation."
Police said there were multiple witnesses to the boy`s death, including children and parents, and they were being interviewed, but refused to release any further details.
Tyabb is a small community of just 3,300 people and the events had left it devastated, Fryer added.
"It`s a shocking time for everyone down there. The family, the community," he told reporters.
Flowers were placed at the oval on Thursday by locals, who said they were stunned.
"How could you harm anyone -- but an 11-year-old boy?" Taylor Cuthbertson, 15, told reporters, adding that a friend saw the attack and was having difficulty coping.
"He`s really down. He`s just completely empty."
Batty attended the Flinders Christian Community College in Tyabb, and in a statement the school said it was bringing in counsellors and chaplains to help parents, students and staff cope.
"Our school community is in shock and struggling to come to terms with these tragic circumstances," it said.