Skye shooting suspect tasered after rampage left father dead and three injured

The Skye shooting suspect was tasered by police to end the rampage that left a father-of-six dead, three others in hospital and an island devastated.

Police confirmed a taser was used during the arrest of the 39-year-old suspect, who has now been charged following three separate incidents on Skye on Wednesday.

John MacKinnon, 47, died at his house in Sasaig, in the Teangue area, after a licenced firearm was discharged around 9:30am on Wednesday.

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According to reports, Mr MacKinnon died while trying to protect others at the property, which he shared with his wife, Lyn-Anne, and family.

In a statement released through police, the family of Mr MacKinnon said: “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.”

Mr MacKinnon, a former soldier who worked at Armadale Castle, was fatally wounded around half an hour after Rowena MacDonald, 32, a mother and hotel manager, was seriously injured at her home in Tarskavaig, around eight miles away.

Ms MacDonald, who is believed to be the sister-in-law of Mr MacKinnon, was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for treatment and remains in a serious condition.

John MacKinnon, 47, died after a firearm was discharged at his home on Skye on Wednesday morning. PIC: Contributed.John MacKinnon, 47, died after a firearm was discharged at his home on Skye on Wednesday morning. PIC: Contributed.
John MacKinnon, 47, died after a firearm was discharged at his home on Skye on Wednesday morning. PIC: Contributed.

As emergency services descended on the island, a further incident unfolded at Dornie on the mainland, around a 40-minute drive from Mr MacKinnon’s house.

John Don Mackenzie, a retired osteopath, and his wife Fay, a mental health nurse – both 63 – were injured when a shot was fired at their home close to the shores of Loch Long.

Mr Mackenzie remains in a critical condition in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, with his wife treated at Broadford Hospital on Skye. She has now been released.

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Police said the firearm, which was licensed, was owned by the suspect.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke of a sense of “devastation” in the communities affected.

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She said: “My thoughts are with those most directly affected by what has been a horrific incident on Skye.

“I want to convey that strength of feeling to those individuals and families who will have been devastated by what has happened.

“Obviously, the kind of incidents that happened [on Wednesday] would have been horrific and devastating in any part of the country.

“But the kind of communities we’re talking about here are small, close-knit communities and that sense of devastation will be felt even more acutely.”

The High Chief of Clan Donald, whose seat is Armadale Castle where Mr MacKinnon worked, paid his respects to the families affected.

Lord Macdonald, vice-chair of the Trustees at Armadale, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those involved and also the wider community, at this tragic time.”

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Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett, local policing commander for Highlands and Islands Division, said officers from Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Glasgow were now working on the island.

He 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.”

The officer said a “considerable police presence” would remain on Skye for the “near future” given the scale of the investigation and the number of sites involved.

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He said: “We are working with local partners, including Highland Council and NHS Highland, to provide support and welfare to those affected by the events and I would urge anyone with any concerns or worries to please speak to our officers who are there to help.”

Skye councillor John Finlayson described the events as tragic for the community.

He said: “I know how close-knit and big-hearted the communities in Skye and Lochalsh are and we will come together to support each other through this devastating time.

“I would like to thank the emergency services for everything they have done, and continue to do and our thoughts and prayers are with all the families that have been affected by the events of today, which have hit everyone in our communities so hard.

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland on Thursday, Mr Finlayson added: “I’ve never known tragedy like this and there’s two communities affected here: one on Skye and one on the mainland.

“I don’t think anyone on Skye or Lochalsh would have expected that.

“From what I hear there were a huge number of ambulances, police, fire service and helicopters in the area.

“Everyone was really alarmed. A lot of people didn’t appreciate what was happening.

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“Now that we’re more aware of the tragic circumstances, I think everyone is still in shock and it is unbelievable.

“It’s a sad day, it’s a tragic day and a very tough day for us all.”

Councillor Finlayson later called for more mental health support for rural communities.

He said: “All too often we say a lot of the issues we have around mental health and other issues in society don’t impact rural communities, but that’s not the case.

“We’ve got to realise that rural communities have got their own kinds of pressures and their own issues that need attended to. I’m sure that all the public services will look at this as a learning curve and we will look to support people across the spectrum in any way we can.”

Scotland’s finance secretary Kate Forbes described the news as “one of the worst days that I can recall in the history of Skye and Lochalsh”.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch added: “It feels like our very heart has been ripped apart.”

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