Head shot of Lachlan Bowles
Lachlan Bowles died from a gunshot wound after allegedly fatally shooting a co-worker. Image by PR HANDOUT IMAGE PHOTO
  • crime, law and justice

Gunman dies after fatally shooting co-worker

Aaron Bunch September 7, 2023

A gunman who allegedly shot dead a workmate before turning the weapon on himself  has died of his wounds, ending a major police manhunt in a WA wheatbelt town.

Lachlan Bowles, 25, allegedly shot a man aged in his 40s at a silo manufacturing plant in Kellerberrin about 8.40am on Thursday before fleeing the area.

WA police issued an active shooter alert soon after, warning members of the public to remain indoors as a police manhunt got under way.

Bowles was believed to be armed, dressed in camouflage clothing and on the move north of the town, about 200km east of Perth.

Police found him at a rural property about 2pm after he allegedly shot at a local farmer who had stopped to give him a lift.

Officers attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution with Bowles but the gunman allegedly turned his weapon on himself.

Police on Thursday night said the 25-year-old had been declared dead at the scene.

Commander of Regional WA Rod Wilde said the incident had evolved rapidly throughout the day and Bowles was found in a farm paddock about 20km from the town.

“Police were negotiating there … had been talking to him for several hours,” he told reporters.

“Obviously it’s a tragic outcome for everyone involved.”

He said Bowles and his alleged victim had worked together for several years. The man in his 40s was transported to hospital after the shooting and later died.

Cmdr Wilde said it had been a dangerous situation.

“We had a person who was heavily armed and had been involved in a serious incident and had left that area in a vehicle and on foot,” he said, summarising the day’s events.

“We believed he had shot at another vehicle, so it’s obviously serious.”

Shire of Kellerberrin chief executive Raymond Griffiths said Bowles and his alleged victim were both locals and the community of about 950 people was devastated by the events.

“Kellerberrin is a tight-knit community … We are all in shock,” he said in a statement.

“Our focus in the coming days will be providing any support the families that have been impacted might need.”

Mr Griffiths thanked police for their “quick response” and asked for the privacy of the victim’s family and the community to be respected.

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