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Isle of Skye: Man, 39, charged with murder and attempted murder and will appear before court

A gunman accused of going on a deadly rampage that left one man dead and three others seriously injured was today charged with murder and attempted murder.

The 39-year-old man, who is accused of murdering MacKinnon with a firearm before allegedly turning the weapon on two more victims who were later hospital, is due to appear before Inverness Sheriff Court tomorrow.

John MacKinnon, 47, was named locally as the victim of yesterday’s horrific shooting – in which a further three people were injured before police Tasered and arrested the suspect.

Mr MacKinnon’s family today released a statement describing him as a ‘loving husband and a much-loved member of the community’.

Wednesday’s horror began when the first victim, named locally as Mr MacKinnon’s sister-in-law, Rowena MacDonald was stabbed at a property in the village of Tarskavaig at around 9am.

Following the incident in Teangue, the gunman then drove about an hour away to Dornie in Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland before launching an attack on two locals named as osteopath John D Mackenzie, 63, and mental health nurse wife Fay, 63.

Mrs MacDonald was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow with serious injuries, while Mr and Mrs MacKenzie were rushed to Raigmore Hospital and Broadford Hospitals respectively.

Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said what happened during Wednesday’s tragedy has ‘shocked the place to the core’. 

The SNP’s Westminster leader also threw his weight behind calls to review Scotland’s gun laws in the wake of the Wednesday’s terrifying scenes. 

He said: ‘Given what we have seen over the course of the last 24 hours, it is right and proper that we continue to look at the regulations that we have in place for the very simple reason that all of us have got a responsibility to keep people safe.’ 

John MacKinnon, 47, has been named locally as the victim of yesterday's horrific gun rampage, in which a further three people were injured before police Tasered and arrested a suspect

John MacKinnon, 47, has been named locally as the victim of yesterday’s horrific gun rampage, in which a further three people were injured before police Tasered and arrested a suspect

Mr MacKinnon's (pictured right) family today released a statement describing him as a 'loving husband and a much-loved member of the community'

Mr MacKinnon’s (pictured right) family today released a statement describing him as a ‘loving husband and a much-loved member of the community’

Wednesday's horror began when the first victim, named locally as Mr MacKinnon's sister-in-law, Rowena MacDonald, 32, (pictured) was stabbed at a property in the village of Tarskavaig at around 9am

Wednesday’s horror began when the first victim, named locally as Mr MacKinnon’s sister-in-law, Rowena MacDonald, 32, (pictured) was stabbed at a property in the village of Tarskavaig at around 9am

The gunman then drove about an hour away to Dornie in Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland before launching an attack on two locals named as osteopath John D Mackenzie and wife Fay (pictured together, centre)

The gunman then drove about an hour away to Dornie in Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland before launching an attack on two locals named as osteopath John D Mackenzie and wife Fay (pictured together, centre)

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Police say there were three linked incidents on Skye and the Scottish mainland which have led to the arrest of a 39-year-old man

A 39-year-old man, who was a registered firearms holder, was arrested yesterday in connection with the three linked incidents and has since been charged. 

The suspect targeted four victims in a trail of destruction from the popular holiday island to Ross-shire.

The spree started at 9am yesterday when 32-year-old hotel worker Rowena was stabbed at a home in the Skye village of Tarskavaig.

Seven miles away in the fishing village of Teangue, on the Sleat peninsula, Mr MacKinnon was reportedly killed after being blasted by a shotgun while trying to wrestle the firearm off the attacker.

Osteopath John D Mackenzie (above) was named locally as the third person injured during the gunman's rampage

Osteopath John D Mackenzie (above) was named locally as the third person injured during the gunman’s rampage

Distillery worker Mr MacKinnon, 47, was described by heartbroken friends and neighbours as a ‘wonderful and kind man’. 

His family today said in a statement: ‘John was a loving husband, father of six, brother, uncle and grandfather to his family, and was a much-loved member of the community.

‘John loved the outdoors, was a keen motorcyclist and, as a loved father, shared his activities with his family.’ 

One school friend shared their tributes and told the Press & Journal that Mr MacKinnon was ‘one of the kindest men’.

‘He loved a laugh and he lit up a room and made everyone feel special,’ they added.

Another neighbour said: ‘No one can believe what has happened here on Skye today. We will miss him.’

Police officers were later alerted to reports of gunshots 26 miles away on the mainland in Dornie, close to the famous Eilean Donan Castle. 

The major incident only ended when police tasered and stopped the attacker in the village of Dornie. 

How the gun rampage unfolded

August 10: Just before 9am

Police were called to a property in the Tarskavaig area, a remote region in southern part of the Isle of Skye, after reports of an injured woman.

Officers found a 32-year-old woman seriously injured, and she is airlifted to hospital in Glasgow for treatment. 

9.30am

Emergency services were then called to a property in Teangue, which is less than a 20 minute drive from Tarskavaig, after reports a firearm had been discharged. 

On arrival they found a 47-year-old man, Mr MacKinnon, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Later on Wednesday morning 

Police were then called to a property in the Dornie area in Wester Ross after reports of a firearm being discharged. 

On arrival they found a man seriously injured and an injured woman. 

The man was airlifted to hospital in Inverness, while the woman was taken to a hospital on Skye.

Arrest is made

Officers later arrested a 39-year-old man in connection with all three incidents. 

He was taken to hospital in Inverness for treatment on unspecified injuries.

August 11: Suspect charged

A 39-year-old man, a registered firearms holder, is charged with murder and attempted murder.

Last night, police officers stood guard at the property in Teangue as forensic teams wearing white suits combed the area.

A tight cordon remained in place, and officers could be seen patrolling outside the house.

Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett, local policing commander for Highlands and Islands Division, said: ‘The thoughts of everyone are with the family and friends of Mr MacKinnon and the three people who remain injured in hospital.

‘These incidents took place in close-knit, rural areas and will have a significant impact not only on those directly affected, but also friends and neighbours living in these communities.

‘Serious incidents which were witnessed yesterday are extremely rare and I would like to further reassure the local communities that they were dealt with and there is no further threat to local people.

‘The policing response was significant as people would expect and involved national resources from across Scotland, including Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow being brought in to support local policing on Skye and Lochalsh.

‘Local officers who live and work in these communities brought the situation to as swift a conclusion as possible and I thank everyone involved, including colleagues from the Scottish Ambulance Service, for their outstanding efforts in responding to what was a distressing series of incidents.

‘The investigation, being led by Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team, is complex and challenging and I would also like to thank the local communities for their understanding and co-operation as we work through our enquiries.

‘Given the size of the investigation and the fact we are dealing with a number of different sites, the considerable police presence will remain for the near future.’

One local man, who asked not to be named, told the Mail that the news of the shooting had shocked the community to the core. He said: ‘I am absolutely shocked, we knew the man that was killed, the wife and the family.

‘The police cars were all lined up outside his former practice, I can’t believe it.

‘Everybody is totally shocked. It is a such a shock to the community, especially because we are so tight-knit.

‘An elderly lady who lives nearer to the house [in Teangue] phoned me and told me about the police arriving. Other than that I never heard anything.’

In Dornie, neighbours told how they heard sirens and the sound of the air ambulance at around 9.30am.

One man said: ‘I looked outside and saw maybe 13 police cars and an ambulance racing past. It’s a terrible shock, everyone is talking about it.’

Another local who was working at nearby Eilean Donan Castle at the time told of his fear his children might be caught up in the violence.

He said: ‘I heard something bad was happening while I was at work, so I phoned my daughter and told her to stay in the house. It was scary.

‘You’d think of something like this happening out in America but you don’t expect it around here.’

Yesterday, a house remained cordoned off with three police officers standing guard.

Police say a 39-year-old man who has been arrested in relation to all three incidents has also been taken to Raigmore Hospital. 

Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett, local policing commander for Highlands and Islands Division, said: ‘Incidents such as this are thankfully extremely rare but I understand that this will have a significant effect on the local community in these rural areas. 

Dozens of police cars and the force helicopter were called to reports of an injured woman at a property in the Tarskavaig area

Dozens of police cars and the force helicopter were called to reports of an injured woman at a property in the Tarskavaig area

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 Police officers were then alerted to reports of gunshots 26 miles away on the mainland in Dornie

A police van at the scene of one of the incidents on the Isle of Skye this morning. One man has died and three other people were injured

A police van at the scene of one of the incidents on the Isle of Skye this morning. One man has died and three other people were injured

An air ambulance pictured at the scene of one of the incidents in the Scottish Highlands this morning

An air ambulance pictured at the scene of one of the incidents in the Scottish Highlands this morning

Despite the  police presence in Dornie (pictured) on Skye, Police Scotland says there is no further risk to the community

Despite the  police presence in Dornie (pictured) on Skye, Police Scotland says there is no further risk to the community

‘I would like to reassure people that we are treating these incidents as contained with no wider threat to the public.

‘There will a significant police presence in the area over the coming days and we will be working with partners to provide support to the local community. I would like to thank people for their co-operation as our investigation progresses.’

Earlier on Wednesday Ian Blackford, the SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said he has been told ‘there is one fatality’.

He said: ‘This is dreadful and shocking news – especially for a place like Skye and Lochalsh.

‘I have been kept informed of the events and I understand a firearm and knives were involved. I have been told that there is one fatality and three injured.

‘Firearm regulations are there for a reason and there must be a review of this incident to ensure if any lessons can be learned from it.

Mr Blackford, who lives on Skye, added: ‘I want to pay tribute to the emergency services, including the police and Scottish Ambulance Service, as well as the local authority.’

An ambulance at the scene of one of the incidents on the Isle of Skye this morning. A total of three people were injured and one man killed on Wednesday

An ambulance at the scene of one of the incidents on the Isle of Skye this morning. A total of three people were injured and one man killed on Wednesday

A Scottish Charity Air Ambulance flies overhead as emergency services deal with the fallout of the incidents on Skye and in Dornieon Wednesday

A Scottish Charity Air Ambulance flies overhead as emergency services deal with the fallout of the incidents on Skye and in Dornieon Wednesday

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch described the news as ‘one of the worst days that I can recall in the history of Skye and Lochalsh.’  

She said: ‘I cannot begin to imagine what the family and friends of those who have lost a loved one are going through, and they should be in all our thoughts and prayers right now.

‘West Highland communities are close-knit, we are warm and welcoming, and this will shatter us to the core.

‘It feels like our very heart has been ripped apart. I, and I am sure many others, never thought we would see such an awful day. Not a single West Highland home will be untouched by this terrible tragedy.’

A dozen police cars including armed response units and the force helicopter were deployed to the scene on Wednesday morning. 

Locals have reported that the suspect is believed to have used a knife and firearm in a series of attacks.

One resident said at the time of the incident: ‘Stabbing in Sleat, then shotgun was used in Dornie. The victim is on the way to hospital.

‘This is from a Dornie resident. Don’t know if the perpetrator is caught yet.’

Following the man’s arrest, police described the situation as ‘contained’.

Speaking this afternoon, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We were made aware of a woman injured at a property in the Tarskavaig area on Skye shortly before 9am on Wednesday, August 10.

‘Police are also attending two further incidents in Teangue on Skye and Dornie which are being linked.

‘A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incidents. At this stage we believe the situation is contained and there is no risk to the wider community.’

Police were first alerted after they were called to reports of an injured woman in the Tarskavaig area of Skye (pictured)

Police were first alerted after they were called to reports of an injured woman in the Tarskavaig area of Skye (pictured)

Officers were then alerted to a second incident in nearby Teangue, which is also on the Isle of Skye (pictured)

Officers were then alerted to a second incident in nearby Teangue, which is also on the Isle of Skye (pictured)

Hamish Fraser, chairman of Broadford and Strath Community Council, said: ‘I’m shocked that such an incident has taken place in our island and within our close communities here. 

‘Our immediate thoughts are with those who have been immediately affected by this terrible tragedy and broader communities who have to live with that over the next few years.’ 

Highland Council’s convener, Bill Lobban, added: ‘We are thankful to our emergency services colleagues for bringing this very serious and shocking incident to a close. 

‘We will be providing support to the communities and our partners in every way possible. 

‘The communities of Skye and Dornie will be shocked and saddened by these incidents and our thoughts are with the individuals affected.’ 

And Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, an MSP for the Highlands and Islands region, said: ‘My heart goes out to all those affected by these appalling, related incidents on Skye and in the Lochalsh area. 

‘I’d like to pay tribute to the prompt response and bravery of our emergency services who managed to prevent the situation escalating further. As ever, we are in their debt.’

‘We will be providing support to the communities and our partners in every way possible.

‘The communities of Skye and Dornie will be shocked and saddened by these incidents and our thoughts are with the individuals affected.’

Skye attracts 500,000 visitors-a-year with such natural features as The Fairy Pools and The Old Man of Storr. Dornie is separated from Skye by the island’s famous bridge.

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