Sat, May 12, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Four children among seven found dead in Western Australia

The Guardian

Seven people, including four children, have been found dead on a property in Western Australia after an apparent murder suicide.

Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson confirmed a “significant tragedy” had occurred on a rural property in Osmington, near the holiday town of Margaret River.

The death toll makes it Australia’s worst mass shooting since Port Arthur in 1996.

At a news conference yesterday, Dawson said police had been called to the outskirts of a rural property at about 5:15am. They found seven people dead on the property, including four children.

He did not release the age of any of the victims.

Two firearms were found on the property. Dawson confirmed the victims had gunshot wounds.

“It appears that gunshot wounds are there, but I don’t want to go further than that, as two firearms have been located at the scene,” Dawson said.

“It is still very early in this investigation, but based on what we do know this is clearly a significant tragedy,” he said.

He said five bodies — four children and one adult — were found inside a building, while two other adults were found outside.

Police say that they do not believe there are concerns about wider public safety following the suspected shooting.

Specialist units from Perth, including the homicide squad and forensic crime scene unit, have been sent to the scene.

Dawson said police were still trying to locate other family members and did not release the identities of any of the deceased.

He called it a “horrific” and “devastating tragedy” which would have a “lasting impact.”

“This devastating tragedy will no doubt have a lasting impact on the families concerned, the whole community and in particular the local community,” he said.

“The loss of any life is tragic, but the loss of four children and three adults, this is a significant tragedy,” he added.

Osmington — population 135 — is about a 20-minute drive east of Margaret River.

It mostly consists of mostly rural farmland properties and vineyards.

Margaret River Shire President Pamela Townshend was in a meeting when she received a news alert about the shooting.

She said she was still in shock.

“This is going to rock our whole community,” Townshend said. “It’s a place where everybody knows everybody. People are all very connected. Osmington is extremely small. It’s just neighbors on rural properties. It’s not only devastating for people who know the victims, but there’s this feeling of fear generated around violence and gun violence.”

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan described the shooting as “tragic and shocking.”

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims, and also with the first responders and investigators as they piece together this tragic set of circumstances,” McGowan wrote on Twitter.

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