Australia’s worst mass shooting in 22 years claims 7 family members
Police on Saturday identified the seven victims of the worst mass shooting in Australia in more than 20 years; the slain included a mother and her four young children.
Authorities in Western Australia responded early Friday morning to a home in Osmington, a rural town nestled in the country’s southwest corner. There they found Peter Miles, 61, Cynda Miles, 58, their daughter, Katrina Miles, 35, and Katrina’s four children — Taye, 13, Rylan, 12, Ayre, 10, and Kayden, 8.
Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson did not confirm reports that the incident was a murder-suicide, but he said that only six of the family members were victims of a homicide, and police don’t believe any other person was involved.
Dawson said a man had made the call from the family’s property, but he did not give more details.
“We know where the call was made from. We know whose phone it was made from. I’ve listened to the message. I’ve been briefed by the homicide officers. While we’ve come to some preliminary conclusions . . . I’m not going to speculate as to the chronology,” Dawson told reporters, adding that the examination of the crime scene would take several days.
Three guns — all registered to Peter Miles — were found at the house.
One of the deceased was found outside the house. Another, a woman, was found inside. The other five, a woman and the children, were found in a converted shed structure, Dawson said. Police initially said that two people were found outside.
The deadly incident was Australia’s worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, when a gunman opened fire in a cafe in Tasmania and then hunted down more victims in his vehicle, killing injuring many others.
Soon after the 1996 incident, John Howard, who was elected as Australia’s prime minister that year, enacted strict gun controls. Known as the 1996 National Firearms Agreement (NFA), the law banned the possession, manufacture and sale of all semiautomatic firearms and pump-action shotguns other than in “exceptional circumstances,” such as military and police use. 35 and
The NFA, one of the most stringent gun laws in the world, also mandated that applicants wait 28 days from the time they obtain a permit to the time they buy a weapon. In addition, under the law, applicants are required to undergo firearms training, and weapons and ammunition must be stored separately. More at washingtonpost.com/ news/worldviews