WA premier, commissioner defend gun laws following Margaret River tragedy

Erika Holt
May 14, 2018

There are some people you just don't want to get on the wrong side of.

Four children and three adults have been found dead at a home in rural Western Australia.

The property, close to Margaret River, south of Perth, is owned by Cynda and Peter Miles, whose daughter Katrina, has 4 autistic youngsters believed to be home-schooled.

Mr Cockman was estranged from the late Ms Miles.

Australia remains an example to the world on the necessity of careful and strict gun control, despite the firearm-related deaths of seven people near Margaret River, West Australian Premier Mark McGowan says.

But there are other indications: police vehicles blocking roads; and the community center in nearby Margaret River offering counseling with television news cameras clustering outside.

Mr Miles was found slumped in a chair on the back porch, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The massacre prompted the nation to tighten its gun-control laws, which have been widely lauded as a success in preventing mass shootings - typically defined as the deaths of at least four people, excluding the shooter, in a single event.

The children's father had been notified of the killings and was "understandably grieving", Commissioner Dawson said.

"We are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen", they said.

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"We thank the community for their support and ask that our privacy is respected as we grieve".

"Margaret River is one of the more famous parts of Western Australia, and it's sad now outside our great state, and internationally, it will be associated with this tragedy".

The extended family is fully co-operating with police, while the children's father is also getting the support he needs.

Police would not comment on the possibility of murder-suicide, but said they are not looking for a suspect.

"Police do not believe any other person is involved in these crimes". 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.

After 5 a.m. the police were called on Friday to the home of Cynda and Peter Miles in Osmington which is a village near the tourist town of Margaret River, 170 miles south of Perth.

The (police officer) that went through, he said they looked all peaceful.

Flowers have been left outside the Osmington property where the bodies of seven people were found.

The bodies of two adults were found outside near a shed that had been converted into living quarters - while the children and a third adult were discovered inside. "It's still very early in this investigation, but based on what we do know, this is clearly a tragedy".

Police have no information to raise concerns about wider public safety issues, Dawson said. She was my friend.

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