• Seven 8th graders among those slain, six injured kids in intensive care; teenage gunman detained
At least nine people, most of them children, were killed yesterday when a lone teenage gunman opened fire at a school in the central Russian city of Kazan, officials said.
President Vladimir Putin ordered a review of gun control laws after the shooting — one of the worst in recent Russian history — which occurred on the first day back to school following annual May holidays.
The spree started around 9:30am local time, sparking panic among students and teachers at the School No 175 in Kazan, the capital of the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Tatarstan.
Amateur footage on social media, apparently filmed from a nearby building, showed people escaping from the school by jumping from second- and third-floor windows, with sounds of gunshots echoing in the schoolyard.
Police said they detained the gunman approximately one hour after initial reports of the shooting.
Seven of the dead were children in the eighth grade, Tatarstan regional leader Rustam Minnikhanov told reporters. He said two adults, including a teacher, also died.
Another 20 people were hospitalised, including 18 children. Six of them were in intensive care, Lazzat Khaidarov, a spokesman for the regional authorities, told AFP.
The ages of the injured people varied from between seven and 62.
Authorities have declared today a day of mourning, with Putin expressing his “deep condolences” to the victims and calling for new gun laws.
“The president gave an order to urgently work out a new provision concerning the types of weapons that can be in civilian hands, taking into account the weapon” used in the attack, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Images broadcast on state television showed dozens of people outside the school with fire services and police vehicles lining nearby streets and law enforcement carrying automatic weapons patrolling the area.
The number of dead reported varied, with the city’s mayor saying eight people had been killed. Russian news agencies, citing official sources, said earlier in the day that 11 people had died.
The Interfax news agency, citing a nearby business college, identified the shooter as Ilnaz Galyaviev, who was enrolled at the Tatarstan University of Management but was expelled one month ago for poor academic performance.
“He was always neat and calm, he was respectful of fellow students and teachers,” a representative of the university was quoted as saying.
There were initial reports of two shooters, with one reportedly barricaded on the fourth floor of the building and killed, but officials later said a lone attacker was responsible.
Tatarstan leader Minnikhanov described the shooting as “a major tragedy for our republic” shortly after the building was secured.
“We are deeply saddened that this has happened,” he told reporters.
He described the detained assailant as a “terrorist” and said the 19-year-old shooter had a licence to carry a firearm.
A source told Interfax that Galyaviev had been armed with a Turkish-made Hatsan escort shotgun, the same weapon used in a mass shooting at a college in Kerch in Russian-annexed Crimea in 2018.
Officials ordered a minute of silence at football matches later yesterday and both cabinet and parliament meetings honoured the victims.
Witnesses offered chilling accounts of the tragedy.
“Parents were running around, looking for their children,” Andrei Stepanov, a cash-in-transit guard who lives close to the school, told AFP.
“I saw a girl with a wounded stomach being carried out unconscious,” he added.
“We are in shock,” says Maria Mashkova, a 33-year-old hospital receptionist. “We didn’t expect that this would happen to us.”
She added that her son is a fourth-grader at the school but did not go to class that day.
Yesterday afternoon, a makeshift memorial was set up outside the school gates where tables were filled with flowers, soft toys and candles, an AFP journalist reported from the scene.
A woman is overcome near a makeshift memorial for the victims of the shooting. (Reuters)
A mother embraces her child in the wake of the traumatic incident. (Reuters)
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Bear kills Slovak in country's first fatal attack
Ex-BBC boss faults Bashir over Diana interview
Five-hour talks likely without meals amid ‘titanic’ security
Biden ends EU aircraft trade war in renewal of transatlantic ties
AstraZeneca says antibody treatment failed in preventing Covid-19 in exposed patients
Covid crisis worsened corruption in EU: watchdog
Johnson delays easing lockdown citing Delta risk
Delta variant doubles risk of Covid hospitalisation - Scottish study
Nato designates China as a "systemic" challenge