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1987: Gunman kills 14 in Hungerford rampage

VIDEO : Hungerford rocked by gunman massacre

A man has shot 14 people dead in the Berkshire town of Hungerford.

Police identified the gunman as Michael Ryan, 27.

Local people described him as a "loner" and a "gun fanatic".

Ryan was armed with an automatic rifle, a pistol and at least one hand grenade when he went on the rampage early on Wednesday afternoon.

His victims included his mother and a police officer who tried to tackle him in Hungerford which lies about 60 miles (96km) west of London.

At least 16 people are known to have been injured.

Ryan's first victim was a woman he shot dead as she picnicked with her two children in Savernake Forest about 10 miles (16km) from Hungerford.

Soon afterwards at 1245, an armed man - identified by witnesses as Ryan - fired at a woman cashier in a nearby petrol station but missed.

Less than 10 minutes later firefighters were called to a house fire in Hungerford where they found the body of a woman believed to be the gunman's mother.

'Fired without warning'

By 1300 Ryan had moved on to Hungerford's main shopping area where he fired indiscriminately killing at least 12 people.

Witnesses spoke of a heavily armed man in combat gear who opened fire without warning.

As police realised the seriousness of the incident armed officers and helicopters were rushed to the area.

But for much of the afternoon Ryan managed to evade the huge manhunt and was only later tracked down to a school on the outskirts of town.

The building is now surrounded by armed police and negotiators have been brought in to persuade the gunman to give himself up.

In Context
Michael Ryan later turned his gun on himself and was found dead inside the school by police.

The death toll eventually reached 16.

At the time the incident was the worst mass killing of recent times in Britain.

It led to tighter restrictions on gun ownership with the introduction of the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988.

Critics said the legislation did not go far enough to prevent other massacres occurring.

In March 1996 Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 school children and their teacher in the Scottish town of Dunblane.


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