Massacres/Mass Murder · School Violence · Scotland

Dunblane school massacre

March 13, 1996
Dunblane, Scotland
Thomas Hamilton, armed with 2 9mm Browning HPs and 2 Smith & Wesson M19 .357 Magnum revolvers, shoots children and teachers indiscriminately, killing 17 and wounding 15 before killing himself

Hamilton had recently been facing rumors of inappropriate conduct towards young boys in the boys’ clubs he directed. This included allegations of photographing boys semi-nude and two separate occasions in which he forced boys to sleep with him in his van during outdoor trips. Hamilton was blacklisted from the Scout Association due to the board being “suspicious of his moral intentions towards boys.” Hamilton claimed the rumors caused his business to fail as well, leaving him unemployed.

On March 13, 1996, Hamilton entered the school grounds, and made his way to the gymnasium where he fired on children and their teacher. Fifteen of the 16 children killed were from this class, as was the 1 teacher killed. When he initially entered the gym, he shot at the children, killing 1 instantly and injuring several others before making his way through the gym, shooting the injured and incapacitated children point-blank to finish them. Hamilton briefly exited the gym through the fire door, firing on a mobile classroom near the gym. Moments before Hamilton shot at the mobile classroom, the teacher instructed all her children to lay flat on the floor; when Hamilton shot at the classroom, one bullet struck a chair a child had recently been sitting in. Hamilton then re-entered the gym, placed the muzzle of his magnum revolver in his mouth, and killed himself.

All of the deceased victims, excluding the sole teacher to be killed, were 5 years old. A commemorative stone was placed in Dunblane Cathedral in 2001 honoring the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in UK history.

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