Russia’s Investigative Committee said that a gunman wearing a red swastika on a T-shirt opened fire in a school in the city of Izhevsk in central Russia on Monday. At least 13 people were killed, including nine children. The shooter, who may have had two guns, also killed himself.
A school security guard and two teachers were among those who died. The attack happened at School No. 88 in Izhevsk, which is the capital of the Udmurt Republic and is in central Russia west of the Ural Mountains. Alexander Brechalov, who is in charge of the Udmurt Republic, said that 20 children were among the 23 people who were hurt.
The gunman was named by Russia’s Investigative Committee as Artem Kazantsev, a 34-year-old local resident who used to go to the school. Investigators were looking through his home. Brechalov told reporters that Kazantsev was a patient at a clinic for mental and emotional health.
The shooting didn’t seem to have anything to do with the recent wave of violence that started after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a partial mobilization of the military. On Monday, a young Russian man in the Irkutsk region of Siberia shot and killed the head of a local office for signing up for the military.
Local news reports say that the gunman, who was wearing black pants, a black jacket, a swastika T-shirt and a black balaclava, shot the school security guard before walking into the school and opening fire on children, many of whom were as young as 7.
During the attack, children ran out of the school in fear as police with guns drawn rushed up stairwells and down school hallways, as shown on video by independent local media.
Local media showed videos of kids huddling together in silence with their teachers in classrooms. In another video, you could hear gunshots while the kids and staff were hiding. The Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komomolets said that a seventh-grade boy at the school jumped out of a third-floor window to escape the shooting and broke his leg.
Images of the scene shown by local media showed a pile of bullets on a desk next to the gunman’s body. The word “hatred” was written in red on the bullets. Near his body were two pistols with the words “Columbine, Dylan and Eric” written on braided cords. This was a reference to the 1999 Columbine school shooting, in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people.
The attack was called “an inhuman act of terrorism” by Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin. He also said that Putin was very sad about it. Peskov said that the president called the head of the Udmur Republic and other officials and “gave all the necessary instructions.”
Putin has said that the goal of the war in Ukraine is to get rid of “Nazis” in eastern Ukraine. He and his supporters have also called the elected government in Kyiv a “Nazi regime” without any evidence.
Russia, on the other hand, has always had some far-right, neo-Nazi people living there. It was not clear if the gunman who attacked the school in Izhevsk was a member of such a group in Russia.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 26, 2022
Compared to the U.S., school shootings in Russia happen less often, but there have been three mass shootings at schools since May of last year. This could mean that school shootings are becoming more common in Russia.
Timur Bekmansurov, an 18-year-old college student, killed six people and hurt 47 others at Perm State University just over a year ago.
Ilnaz Galyaviev, who was 21 at the time, killed nine people at a school in Kazan, Tatarstan, in May of last year. Seven of them were children.
In 2018, Vladimir Roslyakov, a fourth-year student at Kerch Polytechnic College, killed 21 people and hurt 67 others in the worst school shooting in Russia’s history.
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