Floreat shooting: Mark Bombara’s 13 guns seized after horrific murder-suicide occurred

Josh Zimmerman & Shannon Hampton
The Nightly
59-year-old Jennifer Petelczyc and her 18-year-old daughter Gretl were shot by a man hunting his ex-wife, in a senseless attack.

The first sign something was amiss at the two-storey riverside mansion owned by Mark James Bombara was the pile of clothes strewn across the verge.

The second were the police officers in the driveway, watching on as Bombara’s partner removed her belongings from the Mosman Park home.

It was Easter Monday. April 1. Seven weeks later, Bombara would remove a pistol from the same house — one of 13 guns he legally owned — and use it to murder two of the innocent people helping his ex-wife escape his violent clutches.

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As the family and friends of Jennifer and Gretl Petelczyc were picking up the pieces of their shattered lives on Sunday, Bombara’s unsuspecting neighbours were coming to grips with the monster living next door.

Property records reveal Bombara and his wife purchased their Hutchinson Avenue home for $3.15 million in 2019.

“Presented over two levels of comfort and style, this home epitomises the river lifestyle,” the real estate listing read.

Underfloor heating. Stone benchtops. Wine cellar. And a master bedroom offering “the best views in the house” – including a panoramic of the Swan River.

A grieving widow and her daughter have emerged as the victims of the horrific shooting in Floreat, caught up in someone else’s marriage breakdown that culminated in a murderous rampage.
A grieving widow and her daughter have emerged as the victims of the horrific shooting in Floreat, caught up in someone else’s marriage breakdown that culminated in a murderous rampage. Credit: Facebook

Within five years, that bedroom had become a cage for Bombara’s wife, whose plan to escape culminated the day after Easter.

A neighbour whose backyard overlooks the Bombara’s home recounted returning from a weekend in the South West to find belongings, including a large pile of women’s clothes, littered across the usually pristine driveway and lawn.

There was also a visible police presence as Bombara’s partner packed up what remained of their joint lives. WA Police declined to confirm whether they had been requested as an escort that day.

The scene was a shock to many, with nearby residents telling The West Australian they had little inkling there was a serious domestic dispute playing out in their midst.

Sure, there had been the occasional gripe about Bombara being “a pain” but nothing to suggest a separation was on the cards.

Certainly no neighbours could remember the 63-year-old ever acting in a violent manner towards his partner.

In fact, most could not remember much of Bombara himself at all.

Those who did described him as unusual. Aloof. Laconic. Possessed of a massive ego.

He told neighbours he worked in property development. That is if he told them anything at all.

One — who attended his 60th not long after the Bombara’s moved to Mosman Park — described his propensity for simply disappearing from neighbourhood get-togethers.

In fitting with his personality, they said. If Bombara wasn’t interested in you, he wasn’t the type to make the effort to even pretend.

One thing Bombara most certainly was interested in was guns. His 13-strong collection comprised both longarm firearms and at least two pistols.

All of them were registered. All of them were seized by police on Saturday. Whether they should have been seized sooner is a question likely to fall to the Coroner.

Mark Bombara’s 13 guns seized after horrific murder-suicide occurred.
Mark Bombara’s 13 guns seized after horrific murder-suicide occurred. Credit: supplied/supplied

As it happened, the guns were removed too late to prevent a double-murder suicide described as “senseless, chilling, and absolutely horrific” by Premier Roger Cook on Sunday.

Besides guns, Bombara’s other passion appears to have been real estate.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Alfredo, he was a qualified valuer and property developer with a raft of projects in and around Bridgetown, Pemberton and Boyup Brook.

By 2010, he had been involved in 38 developments carried out by the family. That includes being listed as the project manager for the sprawling Highland estate in Bridgetown. His speciality was purchasing broad-acre land, getting in rezoned and flogging off the resultant lots.

Various court judgements involving Bombara’s extensive property interests provide further insight into his personality.

One of those cases involved suing his own brother, Hugo, following a dust-up over the sale of Bombara family land in Bertram.

In a tersely worded email to his sibling — who had refused to sign a listing authority for the property — Bombara pressured Hugo to get out of the way of the transaction.

Assignment Freelance Picture Mark Bombara fatally shot Jennifer Petelczyc and her daughter Gretl
 in Perth. Picture: Supplied via Nine News
Mark Bombara, who murdered the pair while looking for his ex-wife, then turned the gun on himself. Credit: News Corp Australia

“I have done everything possible to accommodate your interests and requirements in the business of holding and developing the property,” Bombara wrote.

“The latest episode demonstrates you are unable to make what could well be the most important decision in relation to this property and to the benefit of all the owners. . . on this basis I require that you be removed from the decision-making process.

“You can either do it voluntarily by informing me immediately or I will be pursuing action in a court of the appropriate jurisdiction.”

Bombara was also embroiled in a long-running stoush with Western Power over the installation of a powerline on one of his many parcels of land — a move he insisted entitled him to millions in compensation.

A judgment published by the State Administrative Tribunal in 2021 detailed how Bombara felt “aggrieved” by Western Power’s plans and “cheated by the system”.

He also said the utlitity’s conduct caused him “considerable distress and inconvenience”.

Western Power originally offered $40,000 in compensation in 2008. Bombara rejected the deal, demanding $19 million plus costs. He engaged the services of Martin Bennett, one of Perth’s most in-demand litigators, to plead his case.

Bombara told the tribunal his land should be zoned urban and had previously been flagged for development.

But the SAT disagreed, finding the property in question was appropriately regarded as rural. In a further blow, the $18,088 in compensation awarded by SAT was less than half Western Power’s original offer.

Unhappy with the outcome, Bombara attempted — unsuccessfully — to argue it all the way to the High Court.

In stark contrast to Bombara’s perceived arrogance, neighbours recounted his partner as “very friendly and helpful”.

She could often be seen gardening in the yard and was always up for a chat over the fence.

A very basic website, seemingly created by Bombara earlier this year, reveals he had four children with his estranged wife. All are now understood to be adults.

“This website contains information about us and our family photo album,” the page reads.

“We are also endeavouring to compile a detailed family history for our website.

“Come in, look around. If you know something about the history of our family that we haven’t included, please let us know.”

The only photo is of Bombara himself.

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

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