Relatives of the seven family members, found dead in bullet wounds on a property in southwestern Australia, say they have been "devastated" and "stunned" by the country's seemingly deadliest mass shooting in 22 years.
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An unnamed relative released by the police on Saturday said they had trouble understanding the tragedy ,
"We are shaken by this shocking event, we are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen," the victims' family said in the statement. "We respectfully pray that the church will not speculate on the circumstances of this tragic incident, we thank the community for their support, and we ask that our privacy be respected if we are worried."
Police were called to a residence in the village of Osmington, about 1
Police said one of the adults had been found outside on the estate, one of the female adults was discovered inside the compound Main house, while the other victims were in a shed that had been converted into living quarters. The police initially said that two adult victims were found outside.
Although the official identification of the victims had not been completed, the police said they believed that the victims were 35-year-old Katrina Miles, her daughter, 13-year-old Taye Cockman, her sons, 12-year-old Rylan Cockman 10-year-old Ayre Cockman and 8-year-old Kayden Cockman and their parents, 61-year-old Peter John Miles and 58-year-old Cynda Miles.
"We know that the members of this family were deeply connected to the city of Margaret River, and many people who know the family understand the loss and the community understandably [does] wants answers," Western Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said a press conference on Saturday.
Three firearms were rescued by the Dawnson and all are licensed to Peter John Miles, the grandfather of the four children, according to Dawson.
"I want to emphasize that the police do not believe that another person is involved in this crime, and the police are not looking for any other suspects," he told reporters at the news conference on Saturday.
Dawson, who noted that the investigation is ongoing, described the deaths as "suspicious" and "very tragic."
Homicide and Crime Scene detectives traveled about 170 miles from Perth to help with the investigation in Osmington. The police said they had no information to raise concerns about general public safety issues.
Pamela Townshend, president of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, said that counselors and Psychologists will be available to members of the community at the Margaret River Community Resource Center. Flowers and cards for the victims are kept in the center's church gallery.
"I am absolutely devastated that this has happened in our community, it is such a small community and it will have a big effect – it already has a big effect," Townshend said at the Saturday press briefing. "This is a strong, networked community, and I know that we will support each other and that we will live through it together."
This could be the worst mass shooting in Australia since a gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996. The massacre prompted the nation to tighten its arms control laws, which were praised as a success Prevention of mass shootings – usually defined as fatalities by shelling of at least four people, with the exception of the shooter, in a single event.
Since 1996, Australia's worst shoot-out occurred in 2014, when a man killed his wife and three children before shooting the family farm gun near the town of Lockhart, New South Wales.