Eight people have so far been killed after a student opened fire at the Perm State University in the Russian city of Perm, which is about 1,300 kilometres east of the Russian capital city of Moscow.
Russia’s National Investigative Committee said the authorities detained the suspect shortly after he unleashed the attack on Monday morning. It said that at least six people were also injured in the attack but the severity of the injuries was not immediately clear. Meanwhile, the Perm region’s health ministry region counted 24 people wounded, including 19 with bullet wounds. The difference in estimated victims is yet to be clarified.
The committee said that the shooter has been identified as a student at the university. The committee said that it has opened a murder probe into the mass shooting incident.
Footages circulating on the local media footage showed students fleeing the scene of the attack. Some people were seen jumping from first-floor windows on the university buildings to escape, landing heavily on the ground before running to safety.
The surviving students said that they used chairs to build barricades to stop the shooter from entering their classrooms. Talking to Reuters, a student named Semyon Karyakin said, “There were about 60 people in the classroom. We closed the door and barricaded it with chairs.”
Perm State University administration said about 3,000 people were on the campus when the shooting took place. The administration said it has urged everyone to leave the campus, if possible. The university currently has 12,000 students enrolled in it.
While the Russian government has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership in place but there are some categories of guns that civilians are allowed to keep for hunting, and self-defence or sport subject to passing certain tests and satisfying other requirements.
Perm State University’s press service said that the suspect in today’s shooting used a gun designed to fire non-lethal rubber or plastic projectiles. Weapons of this kind can be altered to fire other lethal ammunition.
While school and university shootings are relatively rare in Russia, this was the country’s deadliest school shooting since 2018, when a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people before killing himself.
Earlier, in May of this year, a teenager in Kazan killed seven children and two teachers at a school, which led to the government tightening its gun law ownership. The new law raised the legal age for buying firearms from 18 to 21 but the new law has yet to come into force.