Gunman opens fire in deadly Russian college attack after posting bizarre message online

Student gunman then shot himself, say reports

Oliver Carroll
Moscow
Thursday 14 November 2019 11:23
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A gunman opened fire on fellow students at a polytechnic college in the Russian far east on Thursday morning, killing two and injuring two others, before shooting himself.

The gunman, identified in local media as 19-year old Daniil Zasorin, reportedly smuggled a 12 calibre shotgun under his coat into Amur college of construction in Blagoveshchensk, on the border with China.

At least some of shots were fired in a classroom. According to some reports, the shooting began outside. One boy was killed immediately at the scene and another died in hospital several hours later. Two other boys remain in hospital in stable condition.

According to the State Investigative Committee, Mr Zasorin was found dead in an auditorium on the first floor of the building shortly after exchanging fire with police.

It was not immediately clear what had pushed Mr Zasorin to such an act. School friends told RIA, the state news agency, that he had been bullied at the college. Other reports have pushed contradictory theories: that he opened fire after being told off for smoking in college; or that he was avenging after a girl had been raped.

The Amur college of construction is located in the far east of Russia, on the border with China

A police source meanwhile told state media that a “conflict between students” remained their main line of investigation.

The Russian Ministry of Education told Kommersant newspaper that the student had not shown signs of violence before. He was the legal owner of the hunting gun, authorities said.

In an audio message apparently recorded just before the incident, and published on a social media channel associated with Russian law enforcement, the gunman left an enigmatic message:

“Nobody of those that will be blamed on telly could stop what will happen,” he said. “Understand? So think in this direction. Of course, it’s a pity why it has to be me. Why it has to be here. Why it has to be now.”

Such shootings remain rare in Russia, owing to strict gun controls. But attacks do appear to be on the increase. In 2014, for example, a student gunman killed a teacher and policeman at a local school in Moscow. In 2018, 18-year old Vladislav Roslyakov killed 20 fellow students in a shooting and bomb attack at a college in Crimea.

That was the biggest loss of life in a school since the 2004 Beslan siege, where 333 died, many of them young children.

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