Nine people, including seven children, were killed on Tuesday and many more badly wounded after a lone teenage gunman opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Kazan, local authorities said, prompting a Kremlin call for tighter gun controls.
“We heard the sounds of explosions at the beginning of the second lesson. All the teachers locked the children in the classrooms. The shooting was on the third floor,” said one teacher, quoted by Tatar Inform, a local media outlet.
Calling the attack a tragedy for the country, Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the wider Tatarstan region, said there was no evidence that anyone else had been involved. He said 18 children and three adults were in the hospital with a range of injuries.
“We have lost seven children – four boys and three girls. We also lost a teacher. And we lost one more female staff worker,” he said in a video address.
“The terrorist has been arrested. He’s a 19-year-old who was officially registered as a gun owner,” he said. He said the victims were in the eighth year of school, which in Russia would make them around 14 or 15 years old.
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Russia’s Investigative Committee, which investigates major crimes, said in a statement it had opened a criminal case into the shooting and that the identity of the detained attacker had been established.
Reuters could not immediately contact a lawyer for the suspect, who was named in Russian media but whose identity was not officially disclosed, standard practice in Russia until a suspect has been formally charged.
Footage posted on social media showed a young man being pinned to the ground outside the school by police officers.
State TV later broadcast a separate video showing a young man under restraint, being questioned by investigators. He could be heard saying that “a monster” had awoken in him, that he had realized that he was a god, and had begun to hate everyone.
The incident was Russia’s deadliest school shooting since 2018 when a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people before turning his gun on himself.
Putin orders review of gun laws
Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of guns are available for purchase for hunting, self-defense, or sport, once would-be owners have passed tests and met other requirements.
President Vladimir Putin ordered the head of the national guard to draw up tighter gun regulations, the Kremlin said. The guards would urgently look into the status of weapons that can be registered for hunting in Russia but are considered assault weapons elsewhere.
The suspect had been issued a permit for a Hatsan Escort PS shotgun on April 28, Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, wrote on social media. He gave no further details and Reuters was not able to confirm this independently.
Kazan is the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan and located around 450 miles east of Moscow.
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