Two die in school shooting in Russia’s Far East
Two people have died and another three were injured in a school shooting on Thursday in the Far Eastern Russian city of Blagoveshchensk.
The assailant, a student at the Amur College of Construction and Housing and Communal Services, reportedly used a shotgun. On the morning of November 14, the armed young man passed unhindered through the school’s security checkpoint and reached his homeroom, where he pointed his weapon at his classmates and forced the teacher to leave the room. She ran to the nearest store, where she called the police. The first officials to arrive at the scene were reportedly traffic police, who surrounded the shooter and returned gunfire, wounding him.
After the school was evacuated, the authorities discovered the bodies of two people, including the gunman, who shot and killed himself.
Police say that preliminary information suggests the student had personal conflicts with his peers. The shooter's IZh-81 pump-action shotgun, a hunting weapon, was officially registered in the young man’s name.
According to the Telegram channel Mash (a Russian media outlet with close ties to law enforcement), the shooter was a 19-year-old senior named Daniil Zasorin. He supposedly opened fire because he was kicked out of the classroom for tardiness. Mash has also floated another theory about the shooting, saying that the attacker may have been out for revenge “because of a girl.” The second body reportedly belonged to Alexey Golubnichy, one of Zasorin’s classmates.
The injured students (ages 17, 19, and 20) have been hospitalized with gunshot wounds. One of these individuals is in serious condition, according to health officials.
Federal investigators have opened a felony inquiry into “murder motivated by criminal mischief,” and officials are also investigating the school’s staff for criminal negligence. Officials have already arrested one security guard.
According to Education Ministry officials, the shooter had no previous record of violence or antisocial behavior. Speaking to journalists, classmates have described him as a “quiet, easy-going guy,” and deny that he was the target of bullying.
The website Baza (another media outlet with ties to the police) published a transcript of an audio message Zasorin recorded the night before the attack. In the recording, he mentions the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the United States.
The local governor, Vasily Orlov, has expressed his condolences to the victims’ families, and vowed to provide them with all the necessary support and assistance. “For our part, we will absolutely find out how this was possible at an educational institution,” Orlov wrote on Instagram. Blagoveshchensk Mayor Valentina Kalita has suspended all public entertainment events in the city for the next three days.
National Guard head Viktor Zolotov has ordered an inquiry into the private security firm operating at the school. The agency's spokesman, Valery Gribakin, says the guard on duty at the time of the shooting did not have the proper permit to work in security.
Translation by Kevin Rothrock