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|Michael Ryan; Hungerford Massacre|
|Topic Started: Jul 15 2011, 11:17 PM (172 Views)|
|Post #1 Jul 15 2011, 11:17 PM||Stacey|
The Hungerford massacre occurred in Hungerford, Berkshire, England, on 19 August 1987. The gunman, 27-year-old Michael Robert Ryan, armed with two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun, shot and killed sixteen people including his mother, and wounded fifteen others, then fatally shot himself. A report on this incident was commissioned by the Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, from the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Colin Smith. It remains, along with the 1996 Dunblane massacre and the 2010 Cumbria shootings, one of the worst criminal atrocities involving firearms in British history.
The massacre led to the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988, which banned the ownership of semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and restricted the use of shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than two rounds. The Hungerford Report had demonstrated that Ryan's collection of weapons was legally licensed.
Michael Ryan in 1986, photographed while working for Hungerford businessman Peter de Savary
Location Hungerford, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Date 19 August 1987
ca. 12:30 pm–ca. 5:00 pm
Attack type Mass murder, spree shooting, murder-suicide, massacre
Weapon(s) Type 56 assault rifle, M1 carbine, Beretta 92
Death(s) 17 (including the perpetrator)
Perpetrator Michael Robert Ryan
On Wednesday 19 August 1987, the historic market town of Hungerford, Berkshire, was turned into a bloodbath with sixteen people shot to death and another fourteen injured, eight of them seriously. The butchery ended only when the gunman, twenty-seven-year-old Michael Ryan, was cornered in a school and turned the gun on himself.
The first victim was Susan Godfrey, who was picnicking with her two children in Savernake forest, a few miles from the town and across the boundary in Wiltshire. Ryan, dressed in combat gear and flak jacket, forced Mrs Godfrey into the forest at gunpoint, where he shot her thirteen times. Then he drove to the golden Arrow filling station on the A4 at Froxfield, where at 12.40 p.m. he filled up his silver Vauxhall Astra, and a five-litre petrol can. Replacing the can in the car boot, Ryan lifted out a Kalashnikov AK47 semi-automatic rifle, crouched slightly, raised the butt to his right shoulder, took aim at the cashier and fired. The shot went wide; Kakaub Dean dropped to the floor and made the first of the many calls which the emergency services were to receive that afternoon.
Ryan’s next port of call was Hungerford, where the madness escalated; running and jogging, Ryan began firing indiscriminately into the crowded market-day streets.
While Ryan was busily decimating the local community, Kakaub Dean’s emergency call resulted in the dispatch of two police cars, one of which was unlucky enough to get in the way of Ryan’s AK47, leaving PC Roger Brereton dead in a hail of twenty-four bullets. The officer heroically managed to get out a distress call just before he died. The call was picked up by PC Jeremy Wood, who immediately called for a firearms team and a helicopter, set up a road block and evacuated picnicking families. By this time, Michael Ryan had gunned down his mother, after which he set fire to the house.
By six o’clock in the afternoon Hungerford is in a state of siege. All telephone lines to the town have been shut down; all roads in and out of the town are blocked. The police are moving in, and Michael Ryan, the focus of everybody’s attention, is holed up at the John O’Gaunt secondary school. Specialist siege negotiators and marksmen surrounding the school try to persuade Ryan to surrender. The gunman appears chillingly lucid, almost reasonable, as he talks to the police. Then, quite unexpectedly: ‘It’s funny, I have killed all those people but I haven’t the guts to blow my own brains out.’ At just after 7.00 p.m. a muffled shot from inside the building breaks the uneasy silence. It was a further three hours before the police cautiously entered the school, the team of two officers covering each other as they dodged from room to room. In a back classroom they found Michael Ryan, sitting in a corner with a gun between his knees. He was dead.
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