A gunman who shot and killed a man at an accountancy firm and then went on the run has been found dead at a house in Western Australia’s Mid West.
WA Police say Rodney Vlahov was found dead at a property in Chapman Valley, about 470 kilometres north of Perth.
Yesterday, paramedics found 49-year-old Philip Chamberlain with gunshot wounds at Douglas Cross and Chamberlain Chartered Accountants on Flores Road about midday.
He died a short time later and a firearm was recovered from the scene.
A manhunt was underway overnight for Mr Vlahov in connection with the shooting, and police said they could not rule out him still being armed with other weapons, sparking fears in the regional city of about 35,000 people.
But police this morning confirmed he had been found at the Chapman Valley home.
“Mr Vlahov was deceased when officers located him. His death is not regarded as suspicious and will be subject of a Coronial investigation,” a police statement said.
“This ends a tragic sequence of events that will impact upon the Geraldton community.
“We want to thank the public for its support during this operation.”
Geraldton community shocked
WA Police Regional Commander Jo McCabe said Mr Vlahov and his family were “well-known to the Geraldton community”.
“This tragic incident has shocked the Geraldton community and our thoughts are with the deceased man’s family at this time,” Commander McCabe said.
People on the corner of Boyd Street and Flores Road in Geraldton after the shooting. (ABC News: Natasha Harradine)
Mr Chamberlain’s family has issued a statement expressing the enormity of its loss.
“We are devastated by Philip’s death,” the statement said.
“Philip was a much loved husband and father, and was well known in the Geraldton community.
“We wish to thank the community for its support at this extremely difficult time.”
Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said both men would be sorely missed.
“There are two families involved in this tragic set of circumstances and it will have a significant impact on our community,” he said.
“But we are just that, we are a tight community.”
He said Mr Chamberlain will be remembered as a gentleman.
“A kind, somewhat reserved fellow … who always wore a smile and was well known as much for his accounting abilities as he was for being a gentleman,” he said.
Mr Vlahov and his two brothers and sister lost their father last year.
All three brothers are farmers in the Chapman Valley area, north-east of Geraldton.
It is understood a succession plan had not been established before the father passed away.
Mr Chamberlain is understood to have been the Vlahovs’ family accountant.
Chapman Valley Primary School, which is near the Vlahov family farms, is offering specialised counselling services to families affected.
Full investigation underway
Assistant Commissioner Murray Smalpage would not reveal what sparked the shooting, but said Major Crime Squad detectives, the Homicide Squad and other specialists would conduct a full and comprehensive investigation into the incident.
“Mr Vlahov and the deceased were known to each other,” he said.
“But the circumstances of their relationship and the causal factors of the shooting will be the subject of a full investigation.”
Commissioner Smalpage confirmed Mr Vlahov was at the business with others, but would not confirm if some of those attending the meeting were family members of Mr Vlahov.
“Full details of what happened in that property will be the subject of a coronial investigation, so I am not in a position to outline the full, blow-by-blow description of what happened in that room,” he said.
“But the circumstances are pretty clear we have one man, unfortunately, deceased.”
Commissioner Smalpage there were other people inside the building at the time of the shooting and they were assisting police with the investigation.
He urged anyone with information about the shooting to contact police.
Rodney Peter Vlahov is believed to be driving a white Toyota Landcruiser, registration 1BBO 343. (Supplied: WA Police)