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Gunman Described as Loner Who Loved Weapons With PM-Britain-Shooting, Bjt

August 20, 1987

HUNGERFORD, England (AP) _ Neighbors say Michael Ryan’s mother doted on him, but the loner seemed to love just one thing - guns.

Ryan died with one in his hand Wednesday evening after a seven-hour rampage that left 14 people dead, including his widowed mother. Ryan, 27, left no clues as to the reason for the massacre, which ended when he shot himself in the head in an empty school.

The gunman lived with Mrs. Dorothy Ryan in a row house in this market town of 5,000, 60 miles west of London. He collected guns, buying and selling antique weapons to finance his collection.

″He had a garden shed full of ammunition,″ said neighbor Christine Morgan.

There had been reports that Ryan was a former paratrooper, but the Parachute Regiment said in a statement he never had been in that unit or any other in the armed services.

He was an only child, unemployed, and unmarried.

Those who knew the family said there had been little affection between Ryan and his father, who died two years ago.

Mrs. Ryan, they said, was different.

″His mother doted on him and always bought things for him. He always had a new car and lots of different girlfriends, but he wasn’t a ladies’ man. He was too much of a loner,″ said Guytha Hunt, who said she lived next door to the family for 25 years.

″He was a real loner who went in for all sorts of guns, which he had collected since he was a teen-ager,″ she said.

An elderly woman, Doris Noon, who said she knew the Ryan family, said of the gunman before his death was announced: ″He is very quiet. He doesn’t have many friends, but he loves guns and was a member of a gun club. But he kept himself to himself and stayed at home with his mum.″

Ryan’s drinking companion, Steven Wells, 23, said: ″He was extremely quiet and never gave anything away about himself. He was self-conscious about going bald and wore sunglasses in all weather.″

Another acquaintance, 28-year-old Chris Bowsher, said: ″I saw him this morning (before the shooting began) dressed in camouflage (clothing). He seemed strange. He was always a bit of an oddball.″

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