Seven children were killed and at least 16 people injured on Tuesday after a gunman opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Kazan, according to the National Anti-Terrorism Committee.
The suspected shooter has been detained, state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Svetlana Petrenko, an official representative of Russia’s Investigative Committee, was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying that an armed young man was detained after he burst into a school.
His identify has been established and that he is a local resident born in 2001.
TASS initially reported that two attackers were involved in the incident, but later quoted the head of the press service of the President of Tatarstan as saying there was only one gunman.
TASS also reported that the Investigative Committee has opened a case of mass murder after the shooting. RIA had earlier cited an emergency services source as saying that at least nine people were killed.
The governor of Tatarstan, an oil-rich, Muslim-majority region where Kazan is the capital, said those killed in the attack were eighth-grade students at Kazan’s School No. 175.
“We have lost seven children … four boys and three girls,” Rustam Minnikhanov told state TV, according to Reuters.
He said a 19-year-old “terrorist” who was “officially registered as a gun owner” had been arrested in the attack, according to Reuters. Minnikhanov said it wasn’t clear yet whether the gunman had accomplices or acted alone.
The gunman was identified by Russian media, who said he was a former student and had announced his intention to carry out the attack on social media.
Kazan is located about 450 miles east of Moscow. Officials there said 21 people were hospitalized, including 18 children — six of them in intensive care — and three adults.
While school shootings in Russia are relatively rare, there have been several in recent years – mostly carried out by students. In 2018, a student at a school in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 19 people before taking his own life.
President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims and ordered his government to tighten the country’s already strict gun laws even more.