Seven members of a family, including a mother and four small children, were killed in a mass shooting that shook a small Australian community and marked the first such incident in the country in more than 20 years
Western Australia responded Early Friday morning on a house in Osmington, a rural town in the southwest of the country. Western Australia's Police Commissioner Chris Dawson did not confirm any reports that the incident was a murder suicide, but he said that only six of the family members were the victims of a murder, and the police do not believe another person was involved.
Peter Miles, 61
Police received an emergency call at 5:15 am on Friday. Dawson said a man had made the call from the family estate, but he did not give details.
"We know where the call came from, we know what phone it was made from, I heard the message, I was taught by the murder officers, and while we came to some preliminary conclusions … I will Do not speculate about the chronology, "Dawson told reporters, adding that the crime scene investigation would take several days.
Three weapons – all registered Peter Miles – were found in the house.
One of the deceased was found outside the house. Another, a woman, was found in it. The other five, a wife and children, were found in a converted shed structure, Dawson said. The police initially said that two people were found outside.
The family was closely associated with Osmington, a community of just 135 people, and the nearby town of Margaret River, one of Western Australia's surfing hotspots.
Pam Townshend President of the County of Margaret River said the deaths had "shaken the community to the core".
"As a small and close-knit community, many people are likely to know or be associated with the deceased," she said in a statement Friday. "What happened today will have a big ripple effect in our community."
Police investigate the deaths of seven people, including four children, in Osmington near Perth, Australia. (Richard Wainwright / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock)
Family members asked members of the community not to speculate about the circumstances of death according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
"We are shocked by this shocking event, we are amazed and still trying to understand how this could happen … We thank the church for their support and we ask that our privacy be respected when we mourn" said the family in a statement.
Dawson said police have talked to him the father of children
"He is understandably grieving, and we give as much support as possible," Dawson reported.
Felicity Haynes, a neighbor and friend of the family, told the ABC that the victims had moved into the house about three years ago. Neighbors reported that the children were being taught at home there.
"They were good people, it's not fair, it's not fair," she told 9 News Australia, saying she heard three shots around 4:00 on Friday, followed by two more, but she did not think much about it.
The deadly incident was Australia's worst mass shooting since the port of Arthur Massacre in 1996, when a gunslinger opened the fire in a café in Tasmania and then killed more victims in his vehicle, killing 35 and injuring many others.
As the Washington Post reported shortly after the 1996 incident, John Howard, who was elected as Australia's prime minister this year, conducted a strict arms control. Known as the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) in 1996, the law prohibited the possession, manufacture and sale of all semi-automatic firearms and pump shotguns, except in "exceptional circumstances" such as military and police.
It is one of the world's most stringent weapons laws and has also required applicants to wait 28 days from receipt of a license to purchase a weapon. Candidates must also undergo firearms training and weapons and ammunition must be kept separate according to the law.
In 2016, 20 years after filming in Tasmania, The Post's Christopher Ingraham quotes the Research Medical Association's published in the Journal of the American, which shows that Australia has not had mass shootings since the changes and that suicide rates in the country are declining were.
Western Australian police chief Chris Dawson speaks to reporters on Saturday at a press conference in front of the Margaret River Police Station. (Richard Wainwright / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock)
However, he noted that there were no significant changes in the country in violent homicides.
However, a 2016 Australian newspaper "The Age" found that the crimes in Melbourne had doubled in the last five years.
An editorial last year said that civil rights are respected, but that "some freedoms have no place in a civilized society and no more than carrying illegal firearms." The newspaper applauded the Australian National Firearms Amnesty that gives people the opportunity to register or sell their firearms – "no questions asked."
The newspaper also called for firearm prohibition orders. allows the police to subject banned persons to a judicial search and prevent them from being near a weapon.
After the Friday massacre, Western Australian PM Mark McGowan called the shoot, "This is a terrible day for Western Australia," he said. "My thoughts are with the victims' family and friends, and also with the First responders and investigators when they gather these tragic circumstances. "
Flowers and a note lie next to a police roadblock, where police investigate the deaths of seven people, including four children, in Osmington, east of Margaret River, in Western Australia. (Richard Wainwright / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock)
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