Gun attack at Crimea college kills 19

Russia has said the attack was an act of mass 'murder'

Russia has said the attack was an act of mass ‘murder’

At least 19 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in a shooting at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea.

An 18-year-old student ran through the technical college in Kerch firing at fellow pupils before killing himself, Russian investigators say.

Officials and witnesses have also spoken of at least one blast caused by an unidentified explosive device.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned by many Western powers.

The annexation marked the start of a simmering conflict involving Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine that goes on to this day.

The alleged perpetrator, named Vladislav Roslyakov, is reported to have run from room to room as he fired, starting in the canteen. He then shot himself dead, Russia’s investigative committee said.

Officials said initial examinations suggested all the victims died of gunshot wounds, but some reports speak of shrapnel injuries.

Soon after reports of a blast, investigators released a statement saying an explosive device filled with “metal objects” had detonated in the dining area.

Several witnesses maintain they heard one or more explosions.

Investigators later said they found a second device among the personal possessions of the gunman and that it had been disarmed.

BBC Russian has been speaking to witnesses, including Igor Zakharevsky, who was in the canteen when the gunman struck.

“I was at the epicentre of the first explosion, at the entrance, near the buffet,” he said.

“I was in complete shock and one of my classmates started pulling me away. Then I heard several shots at intervals of two or three seconds. After a while there was another explosion.”

National guard soldiers were deployed and schools and pre-schools in the city were evacuated.

A businessman near the college described hearing an explosion and seeing a large window shatter.

The incident was earlier described as a “terrorist act”, but Russia’s investigative committee has now reclassified it as “mass murder”.

President Vladimir Putin said the attack was a “tragic event” and expressed condolences to the victims’ relatives.

Details are still emerging and his precise motives remain unclear.

But there are suggestions the fourth-year student had developed a hostile attitude to the college.

Russia’s RBC TV interviewed a friend who said Roslyakov “hated the technical school very much” and had vowed “revenge” on his teachers. -BBC

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