School shooting in Russia leaves 9 dead, 21 wounded, officials say
Attacker arrested, investigation into shooting in Kazan underway
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.
Two children could be seen leaping from the third floor of the four-storey School Number 175 to escape as gunshots rang out in a video filmed by an onlooker that was circulated by Russia's RIA news agency.
"We heard the sounds of explosions at the beginning of the second lesson," said one teacher, quoted by Tatar Inform, a local media outlet. "All the teachers locked the children in the classrooms. The shooting was on the third floor."
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.
"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 the victims were in the eighth year of school, which in Russia would make them around 14 or 15 years old.
Suspect in custody
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 what it said was the suspect, a young man stripped to the waist and 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 event 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.
WATCH | 9 killed, many badly wounded in shooting at Russian school:
The deadliest school attack in Russia took place in 2004 in the city of Beslan, when Islamic militants took more 1,000 people hostage for several days. The siege ended in gunfire and explosions, leaving 334 dead, more than half of them children.
Putin orders review of gun laws
Minnikhanov, the regional leader, said 18 children were in hospital with a range of injuries, including gunshot wounds and broken and fractured bones. Three adults with gunshot wounds were also in hospital, he said, saying doctors were doing all they could to save the lives of those wounded.
Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of guns are available for purchase for hunting, self-defence 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.
Kazan is the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan and located around 725 kilometres east of Moscow.
With files from The Associated Press