Manhunt in Crimea for possible accomplice in school attack

Muscles of wounded teenagers at college ‘minced’ by small metal objects packed inside bomb detonated in canteen by fellow student, top official says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2018, 6:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2018, 10:15pm

Authorities in Crimea were searching for a possible accomplice of the student who carried out a shooting and bomb attack on a vocational school, killing 20 people and wounding more than 50 others, an official said on Thursday.

An 18-year-old student, who later killed himself, was initially believed to be the only one to have been involved in the carnage at the Kerch Polytechnic College on Wednesday. Authorities have not provided a motive for the shooting, and teachers and classmates described the attacker as a shy man who had few friends.

According to his ex-girlfriend, he was bullied.

“He would say that he lost trust in people when his classmates began humiliating him for not being like everyone else,” a 15-year-old named as Zlata told RT television of Vladislav Roslyakov. “Vladislav was always telling me about his frequent fights with people around him.”

He had spoken to her about taking revenge for this bullying, RT reported Zlata as saying.

“He didn’t want to live” because of it, said the girl, who broke up with Roslyakov at an unspecified time before the killing.

She said Roslyakov was a shooting enthusiast whose favourite type of knife was the “butterfly”.

But she also described him as a good person.

“When we started going out, everything was fine. He was kind and considerate, he helped me when things were bad.

“I’m sorry for the people he shot and I’m very sorry that he killed himself. He was a very good friend.”

Crimea’s chief Sergei Aksyonov told Russian news agencies on Thursday it is possible Roslyakov had an accomplice.

“The point is to find out who was coaching him for this crime,” he said. “He was acting on his own here, we know that. But this scoundrel could not have prepared this attack on his own, in my opinion and according to my colleagues.”

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Wednesday’s attack in the city of Kerch was by far the worst by a student in Russia, raising questions about school security in the country. Kerch Polytechnic College had only a front desk with no security guards.

The death toll from the shooting climbed by one to 20 on Thursday after one of the wounded died in hospital. The first victim was expected to be buried later in the day.

Dozens of wounded are still in hospital in Kerch and at least 10 with severe injuries will be airlifted to top Russian hospitals for surgery, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said.

Most of the people killed died from gunshot wounds and those who ended up in hospital have injuries from a blast from a home-made bomb packed with shrapnel.

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“The kids’ muscles have been ‘minced’ with small metal objects,” Skvortsova said. “Those who have their organs ripped apart, we are finding metal balls in kidneys, intestines, in blood vessels. That is how powerful the blast was.”

The school attack in Kerch was the greatest loss of life in school violence in Russia since the Beslan attack by Chechen separatists in 2004, in which more than 300 people were killed in a three-day siege, many of them children, and hundreds of others wounded.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse