A ghastly discovery has shocked Australia in the worst mass shooting the country has seen since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Seven people, including four children and three adults, were found dead at a home near Margaret River in Western Australia. Police say they are treating the situation as a murder-suicide. It is the worst single loss of life since the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting which took the lives of 35 people and injured 23 more.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"At this point in time, all I'll confirm is that there are four children and three adults that have all been located deceased." WA Commissioner Chris Dawson addresses the media after finding the bodies this morning at around 5:15am. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/7News?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#7News</a> <a href="https://t.co/u8TGXvLRke">pic.twitter.com/u8TGXvLRke</a></p>— 7 News Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) <a href="https://twitter.com/7NewsBrisbane/status/994779686839422977?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 11, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said investigators received a call to respond to the rural property in Osmington around 5:15 a.m. Thursday. Police found two adults outside the home and another five bodies inside, all appeared to have died from gunshot wounds.
Homicide Squad and Forensic Crime Scene Unit detectives traveled to the scene to investigate the case. Commissioner Dawson said during a press conference in Perth that the deaths were a "horrific incident" and a "male person" connected to the property had made the call to police.
"This will be a very large-scale and detailed investigation," Dawson said. He also revealed the call to police was recorded but offered no further details other than all of the victims appeared to be residents of the property. Police are not seeking a suspect at this time. "We don't have any information to raise further public concern about that element," he said. The heavy gun control measures initiated after the Port Arthur massacre have severely restricted gun ownership in the country, yet mass shootings still occur.
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Glynn Greensmith is a mass shooting expert studying a Ph.D. in mass shootings at Edith Cowan University. "We have been lucky that all forms of gun-related deaths have reduced dramatically since we took that step of having less guns following the gun bans in the wake of Port Arthur," Greensmith said. "But there are as many guns now in Australia as there were at the time of the Port Arthur massacre."
The Federal MP for Vasse Libby Mettam said the deaths sent "significant shockwaves" through the community. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that will be affected by this tragedy, including those first responders." Felicity Haynes, a former local councilor, said the deceased family members were "caring neighbors". Haynes added, "They were just such lovely people."
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