ⓘ 2016 Spalding shooting
On 19 July 2016, a shooting occurred at the Castle Sports Complex in the town centre of Spalding in Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. Three people, including the perpetrator, were killed in the shooting.
Police quickly ruled out potential links to terrorism, while stating that the incident appeared to be a lone wolf attack. The perpetrator was identified as 57-year-old Lance Hart, who targeted his wife, 50-year-old Claire Hart, and their daughter, 19-year-old Charlotte Hart, in the attack. Both women were killed by the perpetrator, who subsequently committed suicide at the site of the attack.
The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in the United Kingdom since the Cumbria shootings in June 2010, in which thirteen people were killed.
At around 09:00 BST on 19 July 2016, a single gunman, 57-year-old Lance Hart, opened fire close to the entrance to the swimming pool at the Castle Sports Complex in Spalding town centre using a shotgun. Two victims suffered fatal gunshot wounds before Hart fatally shot himself at the scene of the attack.
Local residents said that they heard "three bangs" in the area at around the time of the attack.
The East Midlands Ambulance Service responded to the shooting and treated three people with gunshot wounds, but were unable to resuscitate them. The local air ambulance attended the incident. Due to initial fears of potential further attackers, paramedics were told to approach the scene with caution, while police stepped up patrols across Spalding.
Following the shooting, Lincolnshire Police raided a house in Hatt Close in the village of Moulton, five miles from the site of the attack in Spalding town centre. Police also confirmed that the incident was not terrorism-related and no shots were fired at, or by, police officers. They also confirmed that they were not looking for any further suspects in connection with the shooting, before asking for any potential witnesses to come forward. At least six police cars attended the incident, with some eyewitnesses stating that they saw "dozens" of police vehicles following the shooting. The attack was later confirmed to be unrelated to an ongoing gang conflict amongst Eastern European immigrants in Lincolnshire, which has been the cause of previous firearms incidents in the area.
The Castle Sports Complex was closed as a result of the shooting. Parts of Spalding town centre were also cordoned off, while Pinchbeck Road through the town was closed. Local businesses were warned by police to keep their doors locked. Local schools were initially put under lockdown due to fears of potential further attacks. The lockdown was lifted by 12:00 on the day of the shooting. Counselling support was offered to staff at the Castle Sports Complex following the shooting.
On 20 July, police confirmed that the suspected gunman did not have a gun licence. A police investigation into the attack is currently ongoing, while an inquest into the shooting is to be launched on 27 July.
2.1. Aftermath Reactions
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, tweeted his condolences following the shooting, stating: "Shocking events in Spalding, Lincolnshire. My thoughts are with the victims and their families". The leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Martin Hill, stated that he was "shocked" by the shooting.
Councillor Gary Taylor, South Holland District Councils representative for the Spalding Castle ward in which the attack took place, stated that "its terrible news and local people are very shocked". Additionally, he stated that "gun crime does not exist in this area at all".
On Twitter, the Diocese of Lincoln stated that their "thoughts and prayers are with the community of Spalding at this time".
Tributes were left outside the Hart family home in Moulton, Lincolnshire by local residents following the shooting. Further tributes were left at the local church, where mourners lit candles.
3. Victims and perpetrator
The victims were named as 50-year-old Claire Hart and her daughter, 19-year-old University of Northampton student Charlotte Hart, who were the wife and daughter of the perpetrator, 57-year-old builders merchant Lance Hart. The perpetrator committed suicide immediately following the attack.
The perpetrator, Lance Hart, was described as both a "very difficult man" with a "short fuse" and as a "very nice guy" who was "always caring" by people who knew him. Hart had previously lived in Wisbech, but moved away after he "fell out with everyone". Hart had also previously threatened a neighbour in Spalding with a firearm following a minor dispute over a planning application. His sons described their father, Lance Hart, as a "tyrant" who inflicted constant psychological abuse on the family.
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