Shock as 4 Children Killed in Australia Mass Shooting
Seven people have been found dead at a farm in Western Australia. It is reported to be the nation’s worst mass shooting for more than 20 years.
The bodies of four children and three adults were discovered Friday in the town of Osmington in Western Australia, 280 kilometers south of Perth, the state capital.
This type of gun violence is rare in Australia. Media reports say the killings are the worst mass shootings since the Port Arthur massacre on the island state of Tasmania in 1996.
In Port Arthur, 35 people were shot dead by a lone gunman, Martin Bryant, who remains in prison.The shootings led to a comprehensive overhaul of Australia’s gun laws, which drastically cut gun-related crime. The measures banned automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
The reasons behind Friday’s tragedy may never be known. Two firearms were found at the scene, which is still being pored over by forensic examiners.
A murder-suicide is suspected, although this has not been confirmed by law enforcement officials.
Three generations of the same family were among the victims.Katrina Miles was found dead alongside her four children aged 8, 10, 12 and 13, and her 58-year old mother, Cynda.
The body of an older man was slumped in a chair on the veranda outside.
Nearby Margaret River is a popular surfing town, and many locals have expressed their horror at the deaths.
The president of the local shire, Pamela Townshend, says the deaths have shocked residents.
“It is such a small community and it will have a huge effect – is already having a huge effect because in this community we are so well connected,” she said.
Mark McGowan, the state premier of Western Australia, has also reacted to the tragedy.
“Four young children, [a] mother and a grandmother being killed in this way is just a terribly distressing and sad thing, and I think we all feel it keenly,” he said.