At Dunblane, a 13th-century village on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton bursts into the gymnasium of the Dunblane Primary School with four guns and opens fire on a kindergarten class. Sixteen children and their teacher, Gwenne Mayor, were fatally shot before Hamilton turned the gun on himself. Twelve other children in the class, along with one other adult, were injured.
Hamilton was a single man who lived in public housing in the nearby town of Stirling. A former Boy Scout leader, he had resigned in 1974 following allegations of improper behavior but during the 1980s formed his own youth athletic clubs. The shooting deeply shocked the Scottish village of 9,000 people and led to the passage of more stringent gun bans by the British government. The Dunblane incident was Britain’s worst shooting since Michael Ryan, an unemployed loner and gun enthusiast, shot 16 people and then killed himself in the quiet English town of Hungerford in 1987.