Four children among seven found dead in 'devastating tragedy'

Four children among seven found dead in 'devastating tragedy'

The children's mother, Katrina Cockman, was identified as one of the three adults found dead at a farmhouse in Osmington near Margaret River.

'Police are now responding to what I can only describe as an horrific incident in Osmington, 20km north-east of Margaret River.

West Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson held a snap press conference a few hours later to confirm seven people had been killed in what appeared to be a murder-suicide on the property.

The commissioner confirmed the person who made the call had a connection to the property but would not confirm the nature of the link.

The police said that four children and three adults were among those murdered.

"Police are now responding to what I can only describe as a horrific incident", he said.

The exact ages of the deceased have not yet been released.

Police are investigating whether a grandfather was responsible for the deaths of six of his family members, before turning the gun on himself in one of the worst mass shootings in Australian history.

Former President Barack Obama has used Australia's gun laws as an example for gun control reform in the USA following a 2015 shooting at an Oregon's Umpqua Community College. But it wasn't clear whether all of the victims had been fatally shot.

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Gun murder after Australia's ban decreased at almost the same rate as in the United States, which did not institute a gun ban, and other violent crimes saw an increase. The National Firearms Agreement outlaws all of the semi-automatic weapons and pump-action guns. The incident prompted the nation to introduce stringent gun controls.

A phone call led police to the scene at about 5:15 a.m., authorities said.

Now, police and forensic investigators are combing the property for clues as to how the tragic events unfolded.

Dawson would not speculate on a motive, but said police had no immediate concerns about public safety beyond the property. Two firearms were also found at the scene.

In 1996, a gunman opened fire at a tourist attraction in the town of Port Arthur, killing 35 people and wounding 22 others.

"Seven people is just shocking", he said.

"They were a very socially aware family, doing their best to create a safe community, and that is why it is so shocking to think that could be destroyed so quickly", she told broadcaster ABC.

Homicide detectives are now assisting police, he said, adding that there was no danger to the public.

The Augusta-Margaret River Shire is trying to pull the community together, offering professional support services at the Margaret River Community Centre on Tunbridge Street and encouraging people to leave flowers there as a tribute. A family friend stated that the children were homeschooled for they were diagnosed with Autism, The New York Times reports.

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