New pictures have shown just how close a farmer came to dying at the hands of the camouflage-clad Kellerberrin shooter.
Lachlan Bowles, 25, triggered a massive police operation when he killed colleague Terry Czernowski at local business Moylan Grain Silos about 8.40am Thursday before fleeing in a car and sending the Wheatbelt town into lockdown.
Police revealed the gunman also took aim at a farmer during the rampage about 200km east of Perth.
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Rob Linto said his terrifying encounter played out when he took a detour down a gravel track on his way to York, a town roughly an hour east of Kellerberrin, and spotted Bowles.
“I didn’t think much of it, but then I saw him stop. He had a gun pointed at me as I’m (driving) towards him,” he told The West Australian.
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“So as I saw the gun, I thought I’ve got to (accelerate). So I just put the foot down but obviously, as I went past, he’s spun around and lined me up and had a shot.
“So I didn’t stop. I just kept launching. I stopped once, and then I thought I heard a car coming, so I got back in and (was) off.”
Linto managed to secure a phone signal before calling the police and filing a report.
A bullet pierced Rob Linto’s spare tyre, burst through the back of the cab and went into his car’s roof lining, near his head. Credit: 7NEWS
Thankfully, the farmer was uninjured but it was a very close call.
Bowles fired at Linto’s Toyota LandCruiser, striking the four-wheel-drive.
One bullet pierced a spare tyre, burst through the back of the ute’s cab and went into the roof lining, near his head.
Commander Rod Wilde told reporters on Thursday Linto had been “very shaken”.
“Police have been in contact and are supporting him,” Wilde said.
Father Terry Czernowski was killed at a grain silo east of Perth by his colleague. Credit: 7NEWSPolice are working to uncover what triggered Lachlan Bowles’ rampage in a tiny WA town. Credit: WA Police
Police had issued an active shooter alert and warned members of the public to remain indoors as they worked to catch the suspect shortly after he killed his workmate, a father.
Police tracked Bowles, who was wearing a swastika armband, to a rural property 20km from town about 2pm and tried to negotiate his surrender.
It is here authorities say he turned the weapon on himself and died at the scene.
A motive for the shooting is being investigated by the homicide squad.
Residents of the small town of about 950 people have been left in shock.
“We are just trying to make sure we get arms around those people that need that support,” shire chief executive Raymond Griffiths said.
Bowles died from self-inflicted injuries in a field. Credit: 7NEWS
Police say Bowles was not known to police before the incident but is believed to have had a number of licensed firearms registered to himself.
The deaths were the latest in a string of recent firearms incidents that have shocked WA.
In May, a 15-year-old sparked terror when he allegedly fired three shots at Atlantis Beach Baptist College and in July mother Georgia Lyall was fatally shot by her former partner in her South Guildford home.
The incident has shone a light on WA’s 50-year-old gun laws, which are set for reform.
The re-writing of the laws was announced in March, 2022 and drafting of the bill — which the government say is a priority — remains ongoing.
Georgia Lyall was fatally shot by her former partner at her home. Credit: 7NEWS
Opposition spokesman for police, Peter Collier, has criticised the government for not acting more swiftly on the reforms.
Hundreds of high-powered guns were removed from WA streets following a government buyback that ended in July.
Police Minister Paul Papalia says 280 firearms were surrendered, sold interstate or overseas or altered to become compliant by the July 1 deadline.
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