Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Shock as 4 Children Killed in Australia Mass Shooting

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson. Supplied Crime Seven dead including four children in rural mass tragedy
Lora Ball | 14 May, 2018, 00:52

Western Australia State Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said two guns were also found at the property in the village of Osmington after police were called at around 5.15am local time.

Police have ruled out any involvement from outside persons and are treating the investigations as a murder-suicide.

The two other bodies, found outside, were reported to be Miles' parents, Cynda and Peter Miles.

In a statement released though police yesterday, the family have asked the public not to speculate on circumstances of the shooting.

"The examination of the crime scene will still take several days".

Commissioner Dawson said the body of a woman was found in the house on the rural property, while the bodies of a woman and four children were found in a nearby converted shed where Ms Miles lived with her children.

"You can imagine this warm, motherly person who's always smiling", she said, "always generous and brings fresh baked scones to everything". They had also been home schooled.

The deaths represent the worst mass shooting in Australia since 1996, when a gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. "We're providing him with as much support as we can".

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An opinion piece by Siraj Hashmi, published in the Washington Examiner on Friday, notes that Australia is often touted by USA gun control advocates as "the shining role model" to reduce mass shootings since its 1996 gun buyback program.

Until Friday, the country had suffered only one other mass shooting - generally defined by experts as a shooting that involves at least four victims 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. There was, of course, opposition to the new gun restrictions: Gun owners argued that the laws would not reduce gun crime and would unfairly penalize law-abiding sport-shooters.

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

Osmington is a small rural community with some 135 residents. But gun-control experts have been saying for years that Australia's laws have slowly softened, and they said it was still far too common for Australians to have more than one weapon at home around children.

Katrina's four children - Taye, Ryan, Ayre and Kadyn Cockman - were aged between eight and 13.

The grieving father was certain the 61-year-old murdered his family before taking his own life, and believed it was his own heartbreak over the plight of two of his children that culminated in the explosive act of violence.

Osmington is a collection of a few streets, farms, vacation accommodations and vineyards supplying the premium winemaking district known as Margaret River.

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