Terror struck a rural property near Margaret River in Western Australia. A family of seven was found dead early Friday (May 11) morning by Australian police. It is being hailed as Australia’s worst mass shooting in 22 years. Police dispatched to a property owned under the names of Cynda and Peter Miles in Osmington, Australia, right outside of Margaret River, which is a well-known tourist town. When the police arrived at the residence, they discovered the bodies of three adults and four children.

The children’s bodies were discovered with their mother and grandparents.

Police received a phone call before dawn about a shooting, and when they arrived they found the bodies of the slain victims and two guns on the property. Police have not released information regarding who made the phone call. According to NBC News, Western Australia state Police Commissioner Chris Dawson has not raised an alert for public safety, suggesting that the shooter is not at large.

The victims were the mother, Katrina Miles, and her four children, along with Katrina’s parents, Cynda and Peter Miles. According to police, two adults were found outside of the property and the other five bodies were discovered inside the home.

The murders and the motive

It is unclear what the exact motive was behind the mass shooting that sent shockwaves through the Australian community. Police have not made a direct statement regarding the shooter and his or her motives.

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According to The Guardian, the rural property was owned by Katrina Miles’ parents, and she moved in with her children about three years ago. In a report made by the Australian, Katrina Miles made a noteworthy Facebook entry stating, “My ex does not stop stalking me.” Neighbors described Cynda Miles being “extremely active” in the community and participating in several local events and organizations.

A family friend stated that the children were homeschooled for they were diagnosed with Autism, The New York Times reports.

The call about the murders came in at 5:15 AM on Friday (May 11). Commissioner Dawson described the murder as a “horrific incident.” It is unclear the motive behind the murders and police are still looking into the case.

The worst mass shooting since 1996

Australia has often been praised for their lack of gun violence.

Former United States President Barack Obama often used Australia’s strict and well-regulated gun control laws as an example as an outline for American gun control laws. Though, according to The Guardian, this is Australia’s worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996.

In 1996, Martin Bryant entered a cafe at Port Arthur, Tasmania, where the 28-year-old ate lunch before pulling a semi-automatic rifle.

Bryant’s rifle rained bullets upon innocent bystanders during his killing spree, leaving 35 people dead and 25 people wounded.

One killing spree was enough to change Australian gun laws forever. The National Firearms Agreement outlaws all of the semi-automatic weapons and pump-action guns. Those who had these types of firearms were ordered by the government to hand them over. Though, the legislation did not ban all guns from use.

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