Tue, 02 Jun 2020

Crimea Shooting-Rampage Death Toll Rises To 21

18 Oct 2018, 22:07 GMT+10

Russian authorities say the death toll in a shooting rampage at a technical school in Ukraine's Moscow-annexed Crimea region has risen to 21, including the suspected shooter.

The Russia-imposed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, told reporters on October 18 in the Crimean city of Kerch, where the attack took place a day earlier, that a 16-year-old girl heavily injured in the shooting died in the regional capital, Simferopol, where she was waiting to be airlifted to Moscow for treatment.

Russian media reports quoted unnamed officials of the Health Ministry as saying that the girl sustained very serious wounds and it was impossible to save her.

Russian investigators identified the suspected shooter as Vladislav Roslyakov, an 18-year-old student at the technical college, and said he committed suicide.

Kerch's deputy mayor, Dilyaver Melgaziyev, said on October 18 that all the victims had been identified, adding that 15 of them were students, and seven of them were younger than 18, while the other five victims were college employees.

Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said earlier that a total of 70 people were wounded in the attack, with several in critical condition being airlifted to top Russian hospitals for surgery. Dozens more remain hospitalized in Kerch.

Aksyonov said earlier that the first victim will be buried later on October 18.

Authorities and eyewitnesses say the teenager walked calmly through the Kerch polytechnic school shooting people seemingly indiscriminately with a shotgun before turning it on himself.

Aksyonov described Roslyakov, a fourth-year student, as a shy boy who had no known friends and a good record in school.

'What he published on his [social media] account was not open to the public. Access to his account was restricted; he didn't have any friends,' Aksyonov told Rossia-24 television.

'He wasn't aggressive, he was rather timid,' Aksyonov said, speculating that Roslyakov might have 'watched some movies' that inspired him to go on the shooting spree.

'He was walking around and shooting students and teachers in cold blood,' Aksyonov said.

The announcement that the shooter was a student who acted alone came after hours of shifting explanations as to what happened at the school, with investigators initially saying it might have been a terrorist attack.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the authorities declared an emergency in Crimea and Russia sent National Guard troops to protect schools and a new 19-kilometer bridge connecting Crimea with Russia.

The attack was the greatest loss of life in school violence in Russia since the Beslan attack by Chechen separatists in September 2004, in which 333 people, many of them children, were killed during a three-day siege.

While such school shootings are rare in Ukraine and Russia, which illegally annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, AP reported that the bloodbath raised questions about school security, as the Kerch school had only a front desk with no security guards.

Lawmakers in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada and Russia's State Duma separately commemorated the victims with a minute of silence on October 18.

Aksyonov said on October 18 that although the perpetrator 'certainly was alone when killing people in the college, but he could not have been able to prepare the rampage by himself only,' adding that investigators were looking for possible accomplices.

His statement came after some witnesses said more than one person was involved, with one saying a bomb with shrapnel that went off in the school lunchroom during the siege was set off by a second attacker.

Earlier, Aksyonov said Roslyakov made the bomb himself and set it off while using a shotgun he recently acquired and 150 cartridges he bought just a few days ago to conduct his deadly shooting spree.

Aksyonov said Roslyakov had recently received a permit to own the shotgun after passing routine background checks.

With reporting by AP, TASS, Interfax, UNIAN, Rossia-24, Christopher Miller in Kyiv, RFE/RL's Russian Service, the Crimean desk of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, RIA Novosti, Mediazona, Dozhd, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

More Europe News

Access More

Sign up for Europe News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!