Moscow: A student armed with a hunting rifle opened fire on Monday at a university campus in central Russia and killed six people and wounding many others, before being detained, investigators said, in the country’s second mass shooting this year to target students.
Video on social media showed students throwing belongings from the windows of university buildings in the city of Perm, around 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) east of Moscow, before jumping to flee the shooter.
В Пермском госуниверситете стрельба. Студенты покидают здание, прыгая через окна pic.twitter.com/Aizx2v12M4
— Эль Мюрид (@K25_SPb) September 20, 2021
The Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes in Russia, initially said eight people were killed but later revised the number of deaths to six.
— Aleksander Onishchuk (@Brave_spirit81) September 20, 2021
It said 28 people were being treated after the attack at Perm State National Research University.
“Some of them have been hospitalised with injuries of varying severity,” it said in a statement.
It said the gunman, later identified as a student at the university, carried out the shooting with a hunting rifle he purchased earlier this year.
“During his arrest, he put up resistance and was wounded, after which he was taken to a medical facility,” the statement said.
The health ministry, in comments cited by Russian news agencies, said 19 among the wounded were being treated for gunshots.
State media broadcast amateur footage reportedly taken during the attack showing an individual dressed in black tactical clothing, including a helmet, carrying a weapon and walking through the campus.
Video from outside the university showed distressed students fleeing the campus and making phone calls to friends and family behind a cordon of police wearing helmets and body armour.
President Vladimir Putin had been notified of the shooting, the Kremlin said, and ministers had been ordered to travel to Perm to coordinate assistance for the victims.
“The president expresses sincere condolences to those who have lost family and loved ones as a result of this incident,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Regional authorities said that classes at local schools, colleges and universities were cancelled on Monday.
School shootings have been relatively unusual in Russia due to tight security at education facilities and because it is difficult to buy firearms.
But Monday’s attack was the second one this year, after a 19-year-old opened fire in his old school in the central city of Kazan in May, killing nine people.
Investigators said that gunman suffered from a brain disorder, but he was deemed fit to receive a license for the semi-automatic shotgun he used in the attack.
On the day of that attack – one of the worst in recent Russian history – Putin called for a review of gun control laws. The age to acquire hunting rifles was increased from 18 to 21 and medical checks were strengthened.
Peskov noted Monday that despite the tightened legislation “unfortunately, this tragedy has happened, and it has to be analysed”.
“Law enforcement agencies must give an expert assessment. It looks like we are talking about abnormalities in a young man who committed these killings,” Peskov said.
Authorities have blamed foreign influences for previous school shootings, saying young Russians have been influenced by similar attacks in the United States and elsewhere.
In November 2019, a 19-year-old student in the far eastern town of Blagoveshchensk opened fire at his college, killing one classmate and injuring three other people before shooting and killing himself.
In October 2018, another teenage gunman killed 20 people at a Kerch technical college in Crimea, the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
He was shown in camera footage wearing a similar T-shirt to Eric Harris, one of the killers in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in the United States, which left 13 people dead.
The Crimea shooter was able to legally obtain a gun licence after undergoing marksmanship training and being examined by a psychiatrist.
The country’s FSB security service says it has prevented dozens of armed attacks on schools in recent years.
The shooting took place as Russia was counting ballots following three-day parliamentary and local elections.