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Man Kills 7 in Spree at Australian Mall : Crime: The gunman wounds 7, then takes his own life as police close in.

From Times Wire Services

A man hacked a teen-age girl to death with a machete, then opened fire in a crowded shopping mall here Saturday, killing four more women and two men.

The man then killed himself as police closed in.

At least seven people were wounded by automatic gunfire in the 10-minute rampage that turned the suburban Sydney shopping center into a scene of carnage and confusion.

Police said the motive for the attack was unknown, and there was no indication that the assailant knew any of the victims, many of whom were hit as they scrambled for cover.

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“There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason for it,” said Doug Kelly, chief superintendent for Blacktown district police. “It was a horrendous killing.”

The mall, a two-story complex of small restaurants, shops and boutiques, was filled with late-afternoon customers when the killings took place.

Witnesses said the man was sitting in a coffee shop when an argument broke out. He attacked a 15-year-old girl with a machete, killing her, then opened fire with an assault rifle on other restaurant patrons, killing four of them instantly.

One victim was the coffee shop’s owner, George Mavors, who was shot in the chest as he walked from the kitchen.

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“It’s a terrible scene in there . . . terrible,” Kelly said.

A 47-year-old woman wounded in the shooting died about eight hours later in a hospital, police said.

Witnesses said the gunman appeared to be calm. Screaming storekeepers and shoppers ducked for cover or fled.

The gunman--who police identified only as a 33-year-old part-time taxi driver--ran to a rooftop parking garage at the Strathfield Shopping Plaza in the upper middle-class suburb west of Sydney, shooting and killing another person as he ran.

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Police said he continued firing indiscriminately from the roof at passersby before shooting himself in the head as officers closed in.

Mall workers said they found 60 spent shells from an assault rifle near the body. Police said the man, who lived alone, had a license for the assault rifle, a Chinese-made, self-loading automatic weapon.

One person was hit at a railway station about 100 yards away.

Police officers said the gunman was still firing when they arrived on the scene.

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One woman was shopping at a nearby grocery store when the rampage began.

“I grabbed a lady’s baby and we jumped over the railings,” said Carolyn Healey, 38. “We were running through here, but we could still hear the shooting as if he was coming after us.”

Chief Supt. Ken Moroney, acting regional commander of the South-West Police region, said the man had no previous criminal record.

The killing spree was the worst in Australia since December, 1987, when Frank Vitkovic shot dead eight people in a downtown Melbourne building before jumping to his death from the 11th floor.

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