Student gunman kills 19, wounds 50 at school in Crimea
VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV and NATALIYA VASILYEVA
,Associated Press•October 17, 2018
MOSCOW (AP) — An 18-year-old student strode into his vocational school in Crimea, a hoodie covering his blond hair, then pulled out a shotgun and opened fire on Wednesday, killing 19 students and wounding more than 50 others before killing himself.
It wasn't clear what prompted Vladislav Roslyakov, described as a shy loner, to go on the rampage. A security camera image carried by Russian media showed him calmly walking down the stairs of the school in the Black Sea city of Kerch, the shotgun in his gloved hand.
"He was walking around and shooting students and teachers in cold blood," said Sergei Aksyonov, the regional leader in Crimea.
Officials said the fourth-year student killed himself in the library of the Kerch Polytechnic College after the attack. His mother, a nurse, was helping to treat victims at a local hospital after the shootings, unaware yet that her son was accused of the rampage and was already dead.
Such school shootings are rare, and Wednesday's attack was by far the worst by a disgruntled student in Russia, which annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. The bloodbath raised questions about school security in the country; the Kerch Polytechnic College had only a front desk with no security guards.
By the end of the day, Crimean authorities said the death toll stood at 19, apparently not including the shooter. Fifty-three people were wounded, including 12 in serious condition.
It was the greatest loss of life in school violence in Russia since the Beslan terrorist attack by Chechen separatists in 2004, in which 333 people were killed during a three-day siege, many of them children, and hundreds were wounded.
The announcement that the shooter in Wednesday's attack was a student who acted alone came after hours of rapidly shifting explanations as to what exactly happened at the school.
Officials at first reported a gas explosion, then said an explosive device had ripped through the cafeteria during lunchtime in a suspected terrorist attack.
Witnesses, however, reported that victims were being killed by gunfire. The Investigative Committee, Russia's top crime investigation agency, eventually said all the victims died of gunshot wounds.
Reflecting the daylong confusion, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the victims were killed by an explosion just as the Investigative Committee was announcing they were fatally shot.