Three generation of one family wiped out in mass shooting *Grandparents, mum, four children killed

By Editor on 12/05/2018

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Katrina Miles and her four children were found dead in Margaret River wine region

The worst mass shooting in 20 years in Australia, saw a three generations of one family, wiped out on Friday, including four children, who were found dead from gunshot wounds the day before, reports say.

Western Australia police on Saturday identified seven people, in what was the country’s worst mass shooting in more than 20 years after they were called in just after 5 a.m. on Friday to a modest home in Osmington, a village near the tourist town of Margaret River, 170 miles south of Perth, reports The New York Times.

There, in the main house and a converted shed, they discovered the victims, who the police identified on Saturday as Cynda and Peter Miles; their daughter, Katrina Miles; and her four children, two boys and two girls, aged 8 to 13.

Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said at a news conference in Margaret River on Saturday that the police were not searching for suspects. Six members of the family were victims of homicide, he said, but not the seventh, suggesting that the police saw the case as a murder-suicide.

He added that three rifles licensed to Mr. Miles were found at the property.

“Police are still some way from completing our investigation,” Commissioner Dawson said, declining to provide more details about whether an emergency call came from Mr. Miles, who is believed to have shot his family members before calling the police and then taking his own life. “The examination of the crime scene will still take several days.”

Only one victim was found outside the buildings, the police said. One of the two women was found dead inside the main house and five others — including the four children — were found in a converted shed.

Asked for more details about how or in what order the people were killed, Commissioner Dawson said: “I’m not going to speculate as to the chronology.”

Relatives of the victims also released a statement Saturday asking for privacy and saying they were “devastated by this shocking event” and “trying to understand how this could happen.”

The deaths represent the worst mass shooting in Australia since 1996, when a gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. That event was the catalyst for a significant strengthening of the country’s gun laws an ambitious gun buyback program.

American proponents of gun control, including former President Barack Obama, often point to Australia’s strict regulations and few mass shootings as a guide to limiting such events in the United States. But in the hours after the shooting in Osmington, those who oppose such strict regulations pointed to the tragedy as proof of gun control’s limits — prompting many Australians to argue against that conclusion.

The shooting in Margaret River doesn't undermine arguments for gun control, if anything it shows how effective it's been seeing as it's our worst since 1996. In America this wouldn't be such a shocking thing, it'd just be another day.

— Conor McCarthy (@ConorMccar) May 11, 2018

Experts typically define a mass shooting as the deaths of four people, excluding the gunman, in a single event.

After the Port Arthur massacre, Australia banned assault rifles and many other semiautomatic rifles and shotguns, and bought firearms — mostly the banned weapons — from owners who turned them in. It also imposed new registration requirements and restrictions on gun purchases.

A rural property in Western Australia where the police said seven people, including four children, were found dead on Friday from gunshot wounds.CreditRichard Wainwright/EPA, via Shutterstock

But researchers say it is hard to determine with much certainty how the changes affected gun violence over all. There were no mass shootings for 18 years afterward, but they make up a small fraction of all shootings. In 2014, a farmer shot his wife and three children before killing himself.

The ban and buyback were estimated to have reduced the number of guns in private hands in Australia by 20 percent. But most gun violence involves handguns, not the “long guns” that were the focus of those changes.

Australia’s homicide rate did not fall in the first years after those restrictions went into place, though suicide declined.

Homicide dropped significantly from 2003 to 2014, a period when it was also declining across the developed world, including the United States, for reasons that criminologists say are unclear. Coincidentally or not, that decline followed the adoption of some handgun restrictions in Australia.

In Osmington, a rural area a few hours south of Perth, it’s not uncommon for farmers to own guns. And gun control experts in Australia have said that many gun owners have more than one weapon, as Mr. Miles did.

According to neighbors and public records, Cynda Miles worked for a local community group. Her daughter Katrina Miles and her daughter’s four children lived on the property. The children were all home-schooled. A friend of the family, who is in the same home-schooling network, said the children were on the autism spectrum.

Osmington has a population of just 135 and mostly consists of farming properties and vineyards. It is about 12 miles northeast of Margaret River, a popular tourist destination known for its wineries, surfing and natural beauty.

“The members of this family were deeply connected to the town of Margaret River,” Commissioner Dawson said. “Many people who knew the family are deeply feeling the loss.”



Source The New York Times

Posted on May, 12 2018

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