Nine killed in school shooting in Tatarstan; Putin calls for a crackdown on guns

KAZAN, Russia – An armed teenager set off an explosion and opened fire at a school in the regional capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, killing nine people as hundreds fled the smoky building, prompting President Vladimir Putin to order a crackdown against weapons.

Republic President Rustam Minnikhanov said seven students, a teacher and another school employee were killed in the attack on school No. 175 on May 11, calling the crime “enormous tragedy for our republic, for our country”. “

According to the republic’s interior ministry, 21 people were injured in the incident, including 18 students, including six children who were taken to intensive care units.

Video from the scene showed students rushing out of the school as smoke poured from its windows and loud noises resembling gunfire sounded. Subsequently, dozens of ambulances lined up at the entrance to the school.

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry sent a plane with doctors and medical equipment to Kazan, a city 700 kilometers east of Moscow, while Health and Education Ministers Mikhail Murashko and Sergei Kravtsov, were also dispatched to the region.

Hours after the incident, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that Putin had issued a special order to the head of the Russian National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, “to establish new regulations on types weapons which are intended for civilian purposes”. use, and what weapons may be in possession of citizens, including the types of small arms the shooter used in this shooting. »

“The fact is that sometimes hunting weapons are registered as small arms, which in some countries are used as assault rifles, etc. This, too, will soon be developed by the National Guard,” Peskov said.

Putin also ordered the government to help the victims and their families. Russian officials have promised to pay the families of the victims 1 million rubles (about $13,500) each and give 200,000 to 400,000 rubles to the injured.

Teachers and students told RFE/RL they heard a powerful explosion in the building before hearing gunshots. They said they fled the building afterward, while some students jumped from third-story windows to escape the scene.

The area was cordoned off by law enforcement and students and teachers at one point were seen being evacuated through windows.

The region’s interior minister said the assault was carried out by a 19-year-old gunman, who was apprehended. Earlier reports indicated that there were at least two attackers.

Media identified the suspect as Ilnaz Galyaviyev.

According to Interfax, Galyaviyev was enrolled at a nearby business school, the Tatarstan University of Management, but was expelled a month ago for poor academic performance.

A seemingly shaken President Minnikhanov, who arrived at school shortly after the attack, told reporters that the firearm used by the assailant was officially registered in his name.

A student from the school described what she saw to RFE/RL.

“We were having a Russian lesson when there was an explosion on the first floor. We ignored it. Then there were more and more explosions. The boys ran to the windows and looked at the first floor . All the windows, doors, and desks were destroyed,” she said.

“We dragged all the offices to the door and closed it. The children on the second floor started jumping out of the windows,” a teacher told Current Time, the Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

“We heard sounds of explosions at the start of the second lesson. All the teachers locked the children in the classrooms. The shooting took place on the third floor,” another teacher was quoted as saying by Tatar Inform, a local media.

A hallway inside the school was shown littered with debris, including shattered glass and broken doors, in unconfirmed video released by news outlet Baza. Another still image showed a body on a bloodstained classroom floor.

Other footage showed emergency service vehicles parked outside the school, with people running towards the building.

The alleged shooter received a permit for a Hatsan Escort PS shotgun on April 28, Aleksandr Khinshtein, a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, wrote on social media.

Tatarstan authorities have ordered checks on all gun owners in the region.

Spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee, Svetlana Petrenko, said a criminal case had been opened in the attack.

The Tatarstan government has declared May 12 a day of mourning.

The school has more than 1,000 students.

Historically, attacks on schools in Russia and other former Soviet republics are rare. However, in recent years they have increased.

In November 2019, a student was killed before the shooter later committed suicide at a college in the Far Eastern city of Blagoveshchensk.

In October 2018, an 18-year-old student killed 20 people in a gun attack at a college in the Russian-occupied city of Kerch, Crimea, before shooting himself to death.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has also reported several instances where it has prevented attacks on schools across the country in recent years.

With reports from TASS, Interfax, RIA Novosti and Reuters

Rose D. Jones