Russian officials are reporting that an 18-year-old student carried out a violent attack at his school in Kerch, Crimea. The bloody attack left 17 people dead and 40 injured before the student committed suicide.
According to the Associated Press:
Russia’s Investigative Committee, the nation’s top investigative agency, said the attacker was caught on security cameras entering Kerch Polytechnic College in the Black Sea city of Kerch and firing at students. It identified him as Vladislav Roslyakov.
Sergei Aksyonov, the regional leader in Crimea, said the fourth-year student at the school had acted alone and killed himself in the school’s library after the attack.
The committee said all the victims died of gunshot wounds.
The statements came after hours of rapidly shifting explanations by Russian officials as to what exactly happened at the school. Officials at first reported a gas explosion, then said an explosive device had ripped through the college canteen during lunchtime in a suspected terrorist attack. Witnesses, however, reported that victims were being killed by a gunman or gunmen.
Reflecting the official confusion, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the victims were killed by an explosion just as the Investigative Committee was announcing they were fatally shot.
Russian news media showed a security camera image of the suspect wearing white T-shirt walking down the school’s stairs with a shotgun.
Russian television said Roslyakov’s mother, a nurse at a local hospital, was helping the wounded, unaware that her son was the suspected attacker. It quoted those who knew Roslyakov as saying he was not very sociable and often put gloomy posts on his social media page.
A somber-faced Putin deplored the attack as a “tragic event” and offered his condolences to the victims’ families at a news conference in the southern city of Sochi, where he was having talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Putin led those present in a moment of silence and some events on his official program were canceled.
Following the attack, law enforcement declared a state of emergency on the Black Sea peninsula which Russia annexed from Ukraine. They also increased security at a new bridge linking the peninsula with Russia. Military units were deployed around the college to help emergency agencies.