CANBERRA, Australia >> Seven people were found dead with gunshot wounds at a property near the tourist town of Margaret River in Australia’s southwest on Friday in what could be the country’s worst mass shooting in 22 years, police said.
The bodies of three adults and four children and two guns were found at a property at the village of Osmington, Western Australia state Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said.
Police have no information to raise concerns about the wider public safety. Police were led to the property by a phone call before dawn, Dawson said.
“This devastating tragedy will no doubt have a lasting impact on the families concerned, the whole community and, in particular, the local communities in our southwest,” Dawson told reporters.
Police were attempting to make contact with victims’ relatives, Dawson said.
This could be the worst mass shooting in Australia since a lone gunman killed 35 in Tasmania state in 1996, prompting the nation to introduce tough gun controls.
Australia’s gun laws are widely acclaimed as a success, with supporters including former President Barack Obama saying Australia has not had a single mass shooting since they were implemented.
The generally accepted definition of a mass shooting — four deaths excluding the shooter in a single event — has been met only once in Australia since then. In 2014, a farmer shot his wife and three children before killing himself.
Police have revealed few details about the recent killings, and it is not clear whether there was more than one shooter.