Four children and three adults have been discovered dead at a home in the proximity of Margaret River in Western Australia’s South West in what police sources are saying as a murder-suicide case.
The tragedy is deemed to be the worst mass shooting case in the country since the Port Arthur massacre back in 1996, which claimed the lives of 35 people and seriously injured 23 more.
Phone tip-off to police
According to WA Police Commissioner, Chris Dawson, officers were asked to check out a rural property in Osmington, situated 20 kilometres northeast of the Margaret River at approximately 5:15 a.m.
Two adults were discovered outside the house while the other five bodies were inside. Two firearms were also discovered at the scene.
“It appears that gunshot wounds are there, but I don’t want to go further than that as two firearms have been located,” said Commissioner Dawson.
Detectives from the Homicide Squad and Forensic Crime Scene Unit were already at the scene to conduct the investigation.
Dawson described the incident as a “horrific incident.” He narrated that a “male person” connected to the property had called police, and not long after, officers arrived at the scene.
“The loss of any life is tragic, but four children and three adults, this is a significant tragedy. This will be a very large scale and detailed investigation,” continued Dawson.
Worst mass shooting in 20 years
Before this tragedy, the worst mass shooting since Port Arthur involved a man killing four members of his family before turning on himself at a property in rural New South Wales in Lockhart in 2014.
Mass shooting expert Glynn Greensmith explained that incidents of this nature have become extremely rare in the Land Down Under.
“We have been lucky that all forms of gun-related deaths have reduced dramatically since we took that step of having less guns,” said Greensmith, who is working on getting a PhD in mass shootings at Edith Cowan University.
“But there are as many guns now in Australia as there were at the time of the Port Arthur massacre,” Greensmith said.
Tragedy to have a ‘lasting impact’ on the community
Dawson said that at the moment, police were not in pursuit of any suspect.
“We don’t have any information to raise further public concern about that element,” he said.
The ages of the children and adults have not been made public.
Police said they were expecting to remain at the property for “an extended period of time.”
“We are trying to locate other members of the family and friends. This devastating tragedy will no doubt have a lasting impact on the families concerned, the whole community and in particular, the local communities in our South West,” said Dawson.