Alleged shooter was let go from roofing job just days before rampage

As Darwin reels from the scenes of horror on its streets, it’s been revealed the heavily tattooed roofer comes from a respected local family.

How the 45-year-old’s life spun so far off the rails is not yet clear, but speaking at a press conference last night, NT Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said it wasn’t Hoffman’s first brush with the law.

He told reporters the alleged gunman had been out on parole after being freed from jail earlier this year, and police were now looking at possible links to outlaw motorcycle gangs.

However, when Hoffman was released on parole in January after spending more than a year behind bars, things began to look up.

Accused Darwin shooter Ben Hoffman comes from a respected local family. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied

His well-known family had been able to get him a steady job.

But, it didn’t last.

It is understood, in recent days, Hoffman had been let go from his job with a local roofing company after continually failing to show up for work.

The NT News reports Hoffman’s mum had lined the job up for him through a family friend earlier this year — to give her son a “second chance in life” — not long after he was released from on parole.

However, his former boss spoke to the newspaper, explaining why he had to let him go.

“He wasn’t coming in to work,” he said. “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’.”

Stunned local resident Leah Potter said almost everybody in Darwin knew Hoffman and his family.

“He’s a local Darwinite that all of us know,” she told the Today show this morning.

Hoffman was held down by police in Darwin. Picture: Keri Megelus

Hoffman was held down by police in Darwin. Picture: Keri MegelusSource:The Courier-Mail

However, she added his run-ins with the law were also common knowledge.

“It’s not a secret. You can find out any of this information just on the sentencing report online,” she said.

“He was in jail for a violent crime — same sort of thing. He walked through a suburb attacking people violently and he was jailed for that. He was released in January. All this is public knowledge.

“This was a man with a lot of problems. We all knew he had his own specific problems. And he had a history of it.”

Four men have been killed and a woman has been rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds to her legs after last night’s shooting rampage.

Broken glass at the front of the Palms Motel. Picture: Keri Megelus

Broken glass at the front of the Palms Motel. Picture: Keri MegelusSource:News Corp Australia

Parts of the city were thrown into lockdown just after 5.45pm, as police scoured the city to find Hoffman who was allegedly armed with a sawn-off shotgun.

Mr Kershaw said Hoffman was well-known to police and was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet as he evaded officers through Darwin.

After being on the run for more than an hour, Hoffman called the NT Police Duty Superintendent and asked to be placed in protective custody, Mr Kershaw confirmed.

“We do believe he was trying to hand himself in,” Mr Kershaw said.

Hoffman was eventually tackled at a city roundabout by heavily armed tactical response group police dressed in camouflage gear.

Video taken at the scene shows him covered in blood, no longer wearing a shirt and lying on his back as he tries to kick the rifle of one of the police officers.

He was tasered at the scene before being taken away in a police vehicle.

Police are now planning to charge Hoffman with four counts of murder.


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