The Star Early Edition
10 slain in school shooting
AT LEAST 10 people were killed after shooting broke out yesterday at a high school in the central Russian city of Kazan, local news agencies reported.
Citing local sources, agencies reported that two people had opened fire at School No 175 in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s republic of Tatarstan.
Interfax reported that one of the attackers, a 17-year-old, had been detained but that a second assailant was still inside the school building.
It said nine pupils and one teacher had been killed and that police had sealed off the fourth floor of the school and were attempting to detain the second attacker.
News agency Tass also reported 10 dead and said 10 people had been injured, including several children.
Tatarstan president Rustam Minnikhanov had arrived at the scene, agencies reported.
Images broadcast on state television from the scene showed dozens of people outside the school with fire services and police vehicles lining nearby streets.
“I was in class, I first heard an explosion, then gunshots,” Tass quoted a teacher as saying.
Another source cited by the RIA Novosti agency said they had heard an explosion and could see smoke rising from the building.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered authorities to urgently tighten the control of civilian weapons following the deadly shooting, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Putin expressed deep condolences to the relatives of the children killed in the armed attack, Peskov said.
Russia has relatively few school shootings due to normally tight security in education facilities and the difficulty of buying firearms legally, although it is possible to register hunting rifles.
In November 2019, a 19-year-old student in the far eastern town of Blagoveshchensk opened fire in his college, killing one classmate and injuring three other people before shooting himself dead. In October 2018, a teenage gunman killed 20 people at the Kerch technical college in Crimea, the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The 18-year-old attacker, who also set off explosives in one of the school’s buildings, shot himself dead at the site.
He was shown in camera footage wearing a similar T-shirt to Eric Harris, one of the killers in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in the US that left 13 people dead.
Putin at the time blamed the attack on “globalisation” and online communities dedicated to American school shootings that promoted “fake heroes”.
The Crimea shooter, Vladislav Roslyakov, was able to legally obtain a gun licence after undergoing marksmanship training and being examined by a psychiatrist.
The shooting led to calls for tighter gun controls in Russia.
The country’s FSB security service says that it has prevented dozens of armed attacks on schools in recent years.
In February last year the FSB said it had detained two teenagers on suspicion of plotting an attack on a school in the city of Saratov with weapons and homemade explosives.
Meanwhile, the UK embassy in Moscow expressed condolences yesterday over the deadly shooting.
“Horrible news from Kazan. Our thoughts are with the families of the dead and injured,” the embassy wrote on Twitter.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics also reacted to the tragedy, wishing a speedy recovery to those who were injured.
“Very sad news from Kazan. I offer my sincere and deep condolences to the parents and families of those killed in this terrible crime. I wish a speedy recovery to all the victims,” Rinkevics wrote on Twitter.
May 12 was declared a day of mourning in Tatarstan as per a decision by the region’s head.