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Floreat shooting: Family of Floreat gunman Mark Bombara say they raised concerns about their father

Phil HickeyThe West Australian
Ariel Bombara.
Camera IconAriel Bombara. Credit: Phil Hemingway/ABC News

Police were warned “repeatedly” by the family of Mark Bombara and the “imminent” threat he posed weeks before Friday’s horrific shooting — yet nothing was done.

The family’s bombshell claims raise serious and very real questions as to whether the shocking murders of Jennifer and her daughter Gretl Petelczyc — who were murdered in their Floreat home by Bombara on Friday — could have been prevented.

Jennifer and Gretl were shot dead by Bombara after he turned up at their Berkley Crescent residence on Friday afternoon looking for his ex-wife.

When he couldn’t find her, he shot Jennifer and Gretl dead before turning the gun on himself.

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In a heartbreaking and stoic statement released to the media on Tuesday Ariel Bombara revealed that she and her mother had repeatedly warned police about the dangers her father posed — well before Friday’s shooting.

In fact, she said she raised serious concerns about the” imminent threat” he posed early as March 30.

But Ms Bombara said her warnings — many of which were relayed to male WA Police officers — fell on deaf ears and were “repeatedly ignored.”

In her statement, Ms Bombara said she and her mother were forced to flee their Perth home on March 28 because they were in fear for their lives.

“I’d like to start by saying how truly, deeply sorry I am to Liesl Petelczyc for the losses of her beautiful mother, Jenny, and sister, Gretl; losses she has suffered at the hands of my father’s violence,” Ms Bombara said in the opening part of her statement.

“My mother and I fled our family home on March 28 in fear of our lives and to remove ourselves from an abusive situation.

“Between March 30th and April 2nd, I spoke with police on three separate occasions to raise the alarm about my father. On each occasion I alerted officers to my father’s guns, and told them my mother and I felt there was a real and imminent threat to our lives.

Ms Bombara said she specifically mentioned to police that there was a Glock handgun missing from his father’s vast collection.

“I specifically mentioned that there was a Glock handgun which was unaccounted for,” she said.

“My understanding is this ultimately would be one of the weapons my father used take the lives of two innocent women.”

Ms Bombara said she asked police if it was possible to take out a 72-hour temporary protective order against her father – but she said this request was rejected.

“We were told no, and that there was nothing police could do about the situation at that time,” she said.

“On April 2nd, my mother and I were given a police escort to our home to collect some belongings. This was the third occasion we warned police about my father’s guns.

“One officer said, ‘Oh don’t worry, we know all about the guns’, and when he called for back-up, he warned his fellow officers to wear bullet proof vests.

“We were ignored by five different male officers across three occasions of reporting.

“By that point we felt completely helpless and I had to focus on getting mum to safety.

“I did everything I could to protect my mother, and when my father couldn’t find us he murdered her best friend and her best friend’s daughter.”

Ariel Bombara.
Camera IconAriel Bombara. Credit: Phil Hemingway/ABC News

Since Friday’s devastating events, the Cook Government has vowed to push on with adopting the toughest gun laws in the country.

In her statement, Ms Bombara said the gun reforms being discussed currently were an “important step.”

“But it is my unwavering belief that even without his guns, my father would have committed a horrific act of violence which likely would have claimed lives,” Ms Bombara added.

“What my father did was an act of domestic violence. My mother and I made clear that lives were at risk, and we were repeatedly ignored. Repeatedly failed. Those failures have cost the lives of two incredible women.

“My father should always be considered accountable for his actions. They were his and his alone, however, there are authorities who should have helped us to stop him, and they failed.”

Opposition police spokesman Peter Collier said Ms Bombara’s statement was both heartbreaking and frustrating to read.

“It is heartbreaking to read of the actual circumstances surrounding these murders. In addition, it is extremely frustrating because it is evident that these tragic murders could have been avoided,” he said. “At the very least, the minister (for police) and Premier owe an apology to Ariel and her family.”

Independent Curtin MP Kate Chaney said Ms Bombara had shown incredibly bravery in coming forward and telling her story.

“I have spoken to Ariel and I will be working with her to ensure that some positive change can come from this horrific incident,” Ms Chaney said.

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch immediately called a press conference on Tuesday to address Ms Bombara’s claims.

Speaking at police headquarters in East Perth, Mr Blanch said WA Police’s internal investigations unit would carry out a “thorough” investigation into the the interactions police had with the Bombara family.

“What Ariel is saying in her statement is why I have commenced an investigation to determine the actions by those police officers,” Mr Blanch said.

“I’m not going to make any conclusions at this point until I have that information. I think that’s fair on the officers and I think it’s fair on the community for all of us to wait for that information.”

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