Six dead after university shooting in Russia

Published : September 21, 2021 16:28 IST

Dozens have been injured in the attack. Photo: dpa/picture alliance/Sputnik

An 18-year-old gunmen opened fire at Perm State National Research University in western Russia after announcing his intentions on social media.

A gunman opened fire at a university in the Russian city of Perm on the morning of September 20, leaving six people dead and several wounded, Russia's Investigative Committee said.

The committee later said that 28 people were being treated after the attack. The gunman was detained, Russia's Interior Ministry and a university spokesman said. Initially, authorities said that the gunman had been killed after the shooting, but later reported that he had been wounded and taken to a hospital.

It is the second mass shooting at an education facility in Russia this year.

What happened during the shooting?

Students and staff locked themselves in the rooms, and the university urged those who could leave campus to do so. Some were seeing jumping out the window. The perpetrator, who was an 18-year-old student at the university, used a "traumatic" firearm, according to the Perm State University press service. Such guns are designed to fire non-lethal rubber or plastic projectiles, but can be modified to fire other ammunition.

The student had earlier posted a social media photo of himself posing with a rifle, helmet and ammunition. "I've thought about this for a long time, it's been years and I realized the time had come to do what I dreamt of," he said on a social media account attributed to him that was later taken down.

He indicated his actions had nothing to do with politics or religion but were motivated by hatred. Talking to DW Russian, reporter Alexei Trapeznikov said the suspect used "very large caliber ammunition."

"I walked down the hallway, I saw a dead body, a woman is screaming," said Trapeznikov, who works for Rossiyskaya Gazeta from Perm. "It was an unreal, nightmare image."

Dozens injured

It wasn't immediately clear how many victims sustained injuries from the shooting or from trying to escape the building. Earlier media footage from the scene showed students jumping from first-floor windows to escape the building, landing heavily on the ground before running to safety. "Some of them have been hospitalized with injuries of varying severity," the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

"There were about 60 people in the classroom. We closed the door and barricaded it with chairs," student Semyon Karyakin told Reuters.

Russia's Investigate Committee has opened a murder probe into the aftermath of the incident. President Vladimir Putin had been notified of the shooting, the Kremlin said, adding that the health and science ministers had been ordered to travel to Perm to coordinate assistance for the victims.

"The president expresses sincere condolences to those who have lost family and loved ones as a result of this incident," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "This is a great loss not only for the families who lost their children but for the whole country," Putin said in televised remarks.

Second school shooting in six months

Regional authorities said that classes at local schools, colleges and universities were cancelled on September 20. The university, which has 12,000 students enrolled, said that about 3,000 people were on the campus at the time of the shooting.

Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of guns are available for purchase for hunting and self defense. The country has relatively few school shootings due to normally tight security in educational institutions and gun ownership laws.

In May this year, a lone teenage gunman opened fire at a school in the city of Kazan, killing nine people and wounding several more. It was Russia's deadliest school shooting since 2018, when a student at a college in Crimea killed 20 people before killing himself.

lc/dj (Reuters, AP, AFP)

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor