Aus­tralia’s worst mass shoot­ing in 22 years claims 7 fam­ily mem­bers

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD - BY KRIS­TINE PHILLIPS AND LIND­SEY BEVER kris­tine.phillips@wash­ lind­sey.bever@wash­

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 wash­ing­ news/world­views

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