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Four children and three adults were found dead at a rural property near the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia yesterday (May 11) in an apparent murder-suicide.

The last mass killing of such a caliber occurred in 1996 when a lone killed massacred 35 people and injured 18 more in Port Arthur, Tasmania.

The family of seven suspected murder-suicide victims have broken their silence over the shooting tragedy.

Mr Dawson clarified only one body was found outside the property's buildings.

West Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the children's father, Aaron Cockman, had been notified of the tragedy.

The bodies of four children and an adult were found in a shed that had been renovated to become a second living space, while a woman's body was also found in the main house.

The other two adults found at the scene have yet to be identified, according to the Daily Mail Australia.

On Saturday Commissioner Dawson would not confirm the allegations.

But a family friend confirmed to the ABC the dead are Katrina Miles, her four children, and her parents Peter and Cynda Miles.

"We know that other countries in response to one mass shooting have managed to craft laws that nearly eliminate mass shootings".

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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.

"I actually spoke to him the night before the incident", said Richard Dosser, who lives about two kilometres down the road.

Police rushed to the rural property just after 5am after receiving an emergency call.

All the victims appeared to be residents of the property, police said, but did not explain how they were connected.

So police are expected to remain at that property in Margaret River, in the small town of Osmington which is about 15 kilometres from the Margaret River town site today as well.

EMILY BOURKE: Have police said who raised the alarm or are they any closer to putting together a timeline at all? That mass shooting prompted strict gun laws in the country, including penalties of up to 14 years in jail for unregistered firearms.

But locals in the local community say they "can't get their head around" the suggestion that Mr Miles could be responsible.

"Community centres have opened their doors to provide support", he said.

"Cynda was a well-loved and very active member of our community. she had a deep commitment to the environment and she will be so sadly missed".


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