A lifelong friend of Sophie Taylor revealed last night that the teenager and her boyfriend Calum Murray became sweethearts after meeting at a Highland games event.
Connor McPherson started playgroup at the same time as the young woman and they went through Tomintoul Primary School and Speyside High School together.
Sixteen-year-old Connor said he was “in total shock” yesterday.
Speaking at his home at Craiglea, Tomintoul, he said Sophie had been going out with Calum since last summer.
They met at the Tomintoul Highland Games, and Connor said Sophie “really liked Calum a lot”.
He added: “She was the type of girl who wasn’t afraid to say what she thought about anything.
“That was what I liked about her. She was quite funny and she was interested in everything.
“We used to go ski-ing at the Lecht. She was a good skier. I last saw her when the school broke up.”
Connor’s father, Tomintoul’s Clockhouse Restaurant owner Dru McPherson, 50, said it was “just horrendous”.
He added: “It’s like a Greek tragedy up here. Sophie was a very, very well known girl and everyone was fond of her. It’s just horrendous.”
Mr McPherson said children in the remote area were “raised with guns”.
He added: “Kids here have been shooting since they were eight years old.
“It’s drummed into them.”
Mr McPherson said the young couple were with another young couple when the incident happened.
He added: “The story around the village is that there were two couples there and the two males were cleaning their guns and the gun went off in the house and killed Sophie, at which point Calum got up and went out to the front porch and shot himself.
“The only saving grace is apparently there was the other couple there who witnessed the whole thing. There will be no conjecture with this one. It’s all sorted out.”
Another teenager, who lives in the village but asked not to be named, said Sophie was very popular at Speyside High School.
She added: “I saw her every day. She goes to the same school. Everybody dies for a reason. It was just her time.”
Moray MP Angus Robertson said: “I am shocked by this incident, as are people in Tomintoul and the Glenlivet area generally.”