PERTH, Australia – Seven people, including four children, were found dead by bullet wounds on Friday in a rural estate in Western Australia, police said. It was apparently the worst mass shooting in the country in more than 20 years. Police were summoned to the home of Cynda and Peter Miles shortly after 5am on Friday in Osmington, a village near the tourist town of Margaret River, 170 miles south of Perth.
There they found the victims, four adults and three children.
Crime scene and murder detectives left Perth to investigate.
The police still have to publicly identify the victims or the shooter, who is probably among them.
"Loss of life is tragic, but the loss of four children and three adults – that's a major tragedy," said Chris Dawson, commissioner of the Western Australia Police, at a press conference. "The police are currently reacting to what I can only call a terrible incident."
The deaths represent the worst mass shootings in Australia since 1996, when an armed man in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killed 35 people. This event was the trigger for a significant strengthening of the weapons laws of the country.
American supporters of gun control, including former President Barack Obama, often refer to the stringent Australian regulations and few mass shootings as signposts to the curbing of such events in the United States states. Experts usually call mass shootings the death of four persons, with the exception of the gunman, in a single incident.
Australia's worst shooting since 1996 took place in 2014 when a farmer had his wife and three children shot dead before killing himself. 19659002] According to neighbors and public records, Cynda Miles worked for a local community group. Her daughter Katrina Miles and her four children aged 8 to 13 years lived on the property. The children were all trained at home.
The police said they would not identify the victims until the next of kin was notified.
Osmington has only 135 inhabitants and consists mainly of agricultural estates and vineyards. It is about 12 miles northeast of Margaret River, a popular tourist destination known for its wineries, surfing and natural beauty.