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Four Trapped in Office After Gunman Kills Official, Self

June 23, 1992

KALGOORLIE, Australia (AP) _ A man apparently angered by a planning dispute killed a government engineer and himself Tuesday, and four women spent 10 hours hiding in an office until a police search found the gunman dead.

Police said the man, believed to be a builder in his 50s, burst into the Kalgoorlie-Boulder district council building wearing camouflage clothing and carrying a shotgun, cartridge belt and knife.

He appeared to be upset about a planning dispute in this small Western Australia goldfields city and argued with employees at a counter before a scuffle broke out, police said.

About 60 people escaped while City Clerk Peter Strugnell and other senior officials tried to wrestle away the gun. The gunman fired several shots into the typing pool office without hitting anyone and then went to the engineering department, where Hart Kerspien, 51, was fatally shot, police said.

At some point the gunman killed himself, police said, but authorities waited for a special police team to come 400 miles from Perth before searching the building.

Strugnell, who suffered minor injuries in the scuffle, and other officials fled when the gunman began shooting, police said. But four women employees spent the day locked in an office until officers found the gunman’s body.

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