Smoke billows from a building set on fire by Michael Ryan, who went on rampage killing 14 people and injuring 15 in Hungerford. The gunman entered the house and shot dead its occupant. As police approached, he set the house on fire and escaped through the back door. - Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1987 - A gunman firing an automatic rifle rampaged through the small market town of Hungerford, killing 14 people and wounding 14 before committing suicide. Police said more than six hours after the carnage began, that local antique dealer and gun enthusiast Michael Ryan, trapped alone in a school surrounded by marksmen, had shot himself dead. The massacre was unprecedented in Britain. Dressed in combat fatigues and wearing a headband, Ryan fired from both hands with an automatic assault rifle and pistol at lunchtime crowds as he strolled along the main shopping street in Hungerford, southern England. The blond and bearded gunman, apparently in his 30s, shot dead his mother in her Hungerford home and burned down the house before going on a rampage.

Other important events

1919 - Afghanistan declares independence from the UK.

1934 - The first All-American soap box derby is held in Dayton, Ohio.

1940 - Italian forces take British Somaliland.

1953 - Iran’s nationalist government collapses following a military coup.

1966 - More than 500 people die in earthquake in eastern Turkey.

1974 - US Ambassador Rodger P. Davies is shot and killed at the US embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus.

1981 - The heads of state of Libya, Ethiopia and South Yemen sign a treaty of friendship and cooperation.

1982 - Svetlana Savitskaya becomes the second Russian woman to go into space when she is launched with two other crewmates aboard a Soyuz T-7 spacecraft.

1988 - Hundreds of UN observers deploy along Iran-Iraq warfront on the eve of a ceasefire, the first step towards ending nearly eight years of bloodshed.

1989 - President Wojciech Jaruzelski proposes Solidarity editor Tadeusz Mazowiecki as Poland’s next Prime Minister after 45 years of Communist rule.

1991 - Communist hardliners stage coup against Soviet president Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

1994 - Chandrika Kumaratunga is sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister.

1996 - Philippines President Fidel Valdez Ramos and a rebel leader announce a settlement of the 26-year Muslim secessionist rebellion.

2002 - Palestinian fighter Abu Nidal found dead in his Baghdad home.

2003 - A massive car bomb destroys the UN headquarters in Baghdad, killing Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top UN envoy in Iraq, and at least 16 others.

2007 - Gaza’s main power plant is forced to shut down, causing a massive blackout.

2008 - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa dies at the age of 59.

2009 - The world celebrates the inaugural World Humanitarian Day.

2012 - British film director Tony Scott dies as he commits suicide by jumping off a bridge in Los Angeles, California.

2013 - At least 28 people are killed when an Indian express train ploughs into a crowd of pilgrims crossing the tracks of a railway station in the eastern state of Bihar.