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Russia

Teenagers targeted in Crimean college mass shooting blamed on fellow student

At least 17 dead after a gunman – a student at the college – went through the building shooting people

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2018, 7:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2018, 11:39pm

At least 17 people were killed and dozens injured at a college in the Black Sea region of Crimea on Wednesday when a teenager went through the building shooting at fellow students before killing himself, Russian law enforcement officials said.

Eighteen-year-old Vladislav Roslyakov turned up at the college in the city of Kerch in the afternoon carrying a gun then began shooting, investigators said. His body was later found in the college with what they said were self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

There were no immediate clues to his motive for the attack, which was similar to shooting sprees by students in US schools.

Many of the victims were teenage students who suffered shrapnel and bullet wounds.

Students and staff described scenes of mayhem as panicked students tried to flee the building. They said the attack had started with an explosion, followed by more blasts, and a hail of gunfire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting in the southern Russian resort of Sochi with his Egyptian counterpart, declared a moment’s silence for the victims.

“This is a clearly a crime,” he said. “The motives will be carefully investigated.”

The director of the school, Olga Grebennikova, described the scene that she encountered when she entered the college building after the attack.

“There are bodies everywhere, children’s bodies everywhere. It was a real act of terrorism. They burst in five or 10 minutes after I’d left. They blew up everything in the hall, glass was flying,” Grebennikova told Crimean media outlets.

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“They then ran about throwing some kind of explosives around, and then ran around the second floor with guns, opened the office doors, and killed anyone they could find.”

Soon after the attack, Russian officials said they were investigating the possibility that it was terrorism. Troops with armoured personnel carriers were sent to the scene. Local parents were told to collect their children from the city’s schools and kindergartens for their safety.

However, the Investigative Committee, the state body that investigates major crimes, said later it was re-classifying the case from terrorism to mass murder.

Officials previously gave a death toll of 18, but the committee revised that to 17 and said they died from gunshot wounds and not from a bomb blast.

An employee at Kerch’s hospital said dozens of people were being treated for injuries in casualty and the operating theatre.

Anastasia Yenshina, a 15-year-old student at the college, said she was in a toilet on the ground floor with some friends when she heard an explosion.

“I came out and there was dust and smoke, I couldn’t understand, I’d been deafened,” she said.

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“Everyone started running. I did not know what to do. Then they told us to leave the building through the gymnasium. Everyone ran there … I saw a girl lying there. There was a child who was being helped to walk because he could not move on his own. The wall was covered in blood. Then everyone started to climb over the fence, and we could still hear explosions. Everyone was scared. People were crying.”

Emergency services teams could be seen in the photographs carrying wounded people from the building on makeshift stretchers and loading them on to buses and ambulances.

A second student at the college, who gave his name as Sergei, said he had taken a few steps out of the building into the street when the first blast went off. He was hit by debris from the blast and injured in the leg.