The Dunblane massacre took place at Dunblane Primary School near Esterling, Scotland, United Kingdom, on 13 March 1996, when Thomas Hamilton killed sixteen pupils and teachers, and wounded fifteen others, before taking his own life. This event remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history.
The general debate on the killings focused on gun control laws, including public petitions to ban private ownership of handguns and the official investigation, which produced Colin’s 1996 report. In response to this debate, two new firearms laws prohibiting private ownership of most handguns within the United Kingdom were passed
At around 8:15 a.m. on March 13, 1996, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton was seen scraping ice from his truck outside his home on Kent Road in Esterling. He left shortly afterwards and drove about 5 miles (8 km) north to Dunblane. Hamilton arrived on the grounds of Dunblane Elementary School at about 9:30 a.m. and parked his truck near a telegraph pole in a school parking lot. Cut the cables at the bottom of the telegraph column, which served nearby homes, with a pair of pliers before making its way through the parking lot towards the school buildings
Hamilton headed towards the northwest side of the school to a door near the toilets and the school gym. After entering, he made his way to the gym armed with four legally portable pistols – two 9 mm Browning High Power pistols and two Smith and Wesson M19 Magnum pistols. Hamilton was carrying 743 ammunition cartridges. In the gym, a division of twenty-eight pupils in the first primary building was preparing for physical education in the presence of three adult staff.
Before entering the gym, Hamilton is believed to have fired two shots at the assembly hall stand and in the girls’ toilet
Hamilton started shooting quickly and indiscriminately. He shot the sports coach, Elaine Harreld, who was shot in the arms and chest while trying to protect herself, and Hamilton continued to shoot in the gym. Harild stumbled into the open-plan store closet on the side of the gym with many infected children. Gwen Mayor, a first grade primary teacher, was shot and killed immediately. Another adult, Mary Blake, a supervisory assistant, was shot in the head and legs but also managed to make her way to the store closet with several children in front of her.
After entering the gym and walking a few steps, Hamilton fired twenty-nine shots with one of the handguns, killed a child, and injured several others. Four injured children had taken refuge in the store closet with the injured Harreld and Blake. Hamilton then moved to the east side of the gym, fired six shots as he walked, and then fired eight shots towards the other end of the gym. He then headed towards the centre of the gym, firing sixteen shots from close range at a group of children who had been disabled by his previous shots.
A seventh grader walking along the west side of the outdoor gym at the time heard a loud bang, loud screaming and looked inside. Hamilton fired in his direction and the pupil was hit by flying glass before running away. From this position, Hamilton fired twenty-four shots in different directions. He fired at a window next to the fire exit at the southeastern end of the gym, possibly at an adult walking across the stadium, and then fired four more shots in the same direction after opening the fire exit door. Hamilton then briefly exited the gym through the fire exit, firing four more shots towards the library toilet, injuring Grace Twiddle, another school member.
In the mobile classroom closest to the fire exit where Hamilton was standing, Catherine Gordon saw him shoot and ordered her students to get down on the ground before Hamilton fired nine bullets into the classroom, which led to shots hitting books and equipment. One bullet passed through a chair in which a child was sitting seconds ago. Hamilton then returned to the gym, dropped the gun he was using, and pulled out another gun. Put the gun nozzle in his mouth, face it up, pull the trigger, kill himself. Thirty-two people were shot and wounded by Hamilton over a 3-4 minute period, sixteen of whom were fatally injured in the gym, including Mayor and fifteen of her pupils. Another child later died en route to the hospital.
The first call to the police was made at 9:41 a.m. by the school’s principal, Ronald Taylor, who was alerted by assistant principal Agnes Olson to the possibility of a gunman in the school building. Olson told Taylor that she heard screams inside the gym and saw what she thought were cartridges on the ground, and Taylor was aware of loud sounds that he assumed were builders on the site he had not been informed about. While on his way to the gym, the shooting ended and when he saw what happened, he ran back to his office and asked Deputy Principal Fiona Edington to call ambulances, a call made at 9:43 a.m.
The first ambulance arrived at the scene at 9:57 a.m. in response to the call made at 9:43 a.m. Another medical team from Dunblane Health Center arrived at 10:04 a.m., comprising doctors and a nurse, who participated in the initial recovery of the wounded. Medical teams arrived from health centers in Don and Callander shortly after. The Accident and Emergency Department of Esterling Royal Infirmary was informed of a major incident involving multiple injuries at 9:48 am and the first of several medical teams arrived from the hospital at 10:15 am. Another medical team from Falkirk Hospital and Royal District arrived at 10:35 a.m.
By 11:10 a.m., all the injured had been transferred to Esterling Royal Hospital for medical treatment; A child died en route to the hospital. Upon examination, many patients were transferred to the Royal District Clinic in Falkirk and some to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasske