iStock/Thinkstock(KERCH, Crimea) — At least 18 people, most of them young, were killed and over 40 injured in a bomb and shooting attack at a college in Crimea that local officials said was carried out by a student.
The attack occurred at a state polytechnic college in the Black Sea city of Kerch on Crimea eastern coast.
Investigators said a lone 18 year-old student at the college entered the school on Wednesday afternoon armed with a gun and began shooting people, before killing himself. A homemade bomb, packed with metal objects, also exploded in the college’s cafeteria, police said.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, the equivalent of the FBI, said it believed the attacker was Vladislav Roslyakov, a fourth-year student at the college.
Roslyakov was captured on CCTV entering the college holding a gun shortly before the shooting began, saidSvetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the committee.
“His body was found in the school with a gunshot wound,” Petrenko said in a statement. “Judging by the picture of the crime, investigators believe the young man shot and killed people in the school before committing suicide.”
Russian authorities initially treated the incident as a terrorist attack. The Investigative Committee opened a criminal probe based around terror charges but later reclassified the case as one of “mass murder” after Roslyakov was identified.
The attack would be one of the worst school shooting in history in the region, where such attacks are very rare.
Witnesses described the rampage inside the school.
“Someone burst in, they were running, throwing plastic bags with explosives, then they were running with assault rifles — I don’t know with what — around the second floor, opening rooms and killing everyone they could find,” the college director, Olga Grebennikova told KerchNet, a local Crimean television station.
The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that President Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences to the victims and ordered emergency services to provide assistance.
About 200 soldiers and 10 military vehicles have been deployed to assist at the blast site at the school, TASS reported, citing local military officials.
Video and photos published by local Crimean media showed people being carried into several ambulances at the scene, where some of the college’s windows appeared blown out. Russian state television showed video of military armored vehicles driving rapidly towards the college.
Crimea has been under Russia’s control since it sent troops to seize the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
This is a developing story.
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