By Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
Andy Murray, the world's No. 3 tennis player and a survivor of a 1996 school shooting, has sent a message to the families of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
In 1996, Murray, then 8-years-old, was an elementary student when former scout leader Thomas Hamilton shot and killed 16 children and their teacher at Dunblane Primary school in central Scotland.
Murray, who has been training in Miami since November with coach Ivan Lendl, wrote in a post on his Facebook account over the weekend, "My heart goes out to all those poor children, their families and the community in Newtown in Connecticut, so, so sad."
Hamilton, who also shot and killed himself, targeted many of the 5- and 6-years-old as they were starting in exercise class in the school's gymnasium.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting spree, the British government under then Prime Minister Tony Blair made it illegal to buy or possess a handgun in the country.
The massacre in Dunblane remains a landmark criminal case in the United Kingdom.
Murray and his older brother survived the attack by taking cover in a classroom and hiding under a desk. The tennis star has been mostly reluctant to talk about the traumatic event during his professional tennis career. In 2009, he published his autobiography, Hitting Back, in which he addresses some of what he called his "patch impressions" from that day, such as "singing songs."
"The weirdest thing is that we knew the guy (Thomas Hamilton)," Murray writes in the book.
In an interview with ESPN in 2009, Judy Murray, the tennis player's mother, described the experience of rushing to the school when she discovered something was wrong.
"Absolutely horrendous. The worst. The worst thing you could ever imagine having to go through in your life," she told ESPN. "Sitting, waiting and not knowing if your child is alive or dead -- you can't imagine what that was like. It was quite horrific."
Dunblane, like Newtown, is a closely knit community, and the former has struggled to shake off its association with the U.K.'s worst school shooting.
Father Basil O'Sullivan of the Holy Family Church in Dunblane told ESPN the town for a while was known as "the place where young children die."