MOSCOW — A gunman attacked a school Tuesday morning in the Russian city of Kazan, killing eight people — seven eighth-grade students and a teacher — and leaving 21 others hospitalized with wounds, Russian officials said.
Russian media said some students were able to escape the building during the attack, while others were trapped inside. Students were eventually evacuated to nearby kindergartens and collected by their families. Dozens of ambulances lined up at the entrance to the school after the attack, with access to the building fenced off by police.
Police opened a criminal investigation into the shooting.
Rustam Minnikhanov, governor of the Tatarstan republic where Kazan is the capital, said four boys and three girls, all eighth-grade students, died in the shooting. Minnikhanov’s press service later said a teacher was also killed.
“The terrorist has been arrested, (he is) 19 years old. A firearm is registered in his name. Other accomplices haven’t been established, an investigation is underway,” Minnikhanov said after visiting the school, adding that security had been restored.
Authorities said additional security measures were immediately put into place in all schools in Kazan, a city 700 kilometres (430 miles) east of Moscow. They also announced a day of mourning on Wednesday to honour the victims of the shooting.
According to Tatarstan health officials, 21 people were hospitalized with wounds after the attack, including 18 children, six of whom were in intensive care.
Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency reported earlier that 11 people had been killed in the Kazan shooting. There was no way to immediately reconcile the differing death tolls.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to those injured in the shooting, ordering the government to provide them with all the necessary assistance.
Putin also ordered Victor Zolotov, head of Russia’s National Guard, to revise the regulations on types of weapons allowed for civilian use in light of the attack.
Russia’s Emergency Ministry sent a plane with doctors and medical equipment to Kazan and two leading officials, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov, also headed to the region.
While school shootings are relatively rare in Russia, there have been several violent attacks on schools in recent years, mostly carried out by students.
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