Students evacuate a building of the Perm university campus following the shooting on Monday.—AFP
Students evacuate a building of the Perm university campus following the shooting on Monday.—AFP

MOSCOW: A gunman killed six people on a university campus in Russia on Monday before being detained, investigators said, leaving students and teachers shaken and terrified.

It was the second mass shooting in Russia this year to target students and came amid calls for stricter controls on access to firearms.

Video on social media showed students throwing belongings from the windows of university buildings in the city of Perm, around 1,300 kilometres east of Moscow, before jumping to flee the shooter.

Witnesses described scenes of panic at Perm State University, saying the city of around one million people was left in shock by the tragedy.

State media broadcast amateur footage reportedly taken during the attack showing an individual dressed in black tactical clothing, including a helmet, carrying a weapon and walking through the campus.

The gunman, identified as a student at the university, carried out the shooting with a hunting rifle he purchased this year, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Ivan Pechishchev, a lecturer at the university, said that when he saw students jumping out of windows he thought there had been a fire.

“They were all in shock, there was screaming, with everyone panicking and scared. I said ‘What’s going on?’” and someone said there was a shooting, the 39-year-old told AFP.

Pechishchev said he hid with students in an auditorium for more than an hour before they were told they could leave the building.

“The city is shocked and anxious. I walked home because it was impossible to get a taxi,” Pechishchev said.

The Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes in Russia, said 28 people were being treated after the attack.

“Some of them have been hospitalised with injuries of varying severity,” it said in a statement.

Investigators said he resisted arrest and was wounded before being taken to a medical facility.

Junior police lieutenant Konstantin Kalinin said he had to shoot the attacker after the man trained a rifle on him.

“After that I gave him first aid,” the policeman said in remarks released by the interior ministry.

The health ministry said 19 among the wounded were being treated for gunshots.

President Vladimir Putin had been notified of the shooting, the Kremlin said, and ministers had been ordered to travel to Perm to coordinate assistance for the victims.

“The president expresses sincere condolences to those who have lost family and loved ones,” said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

School shootings are relatively unusual in Russia due to tight security at education facilities and because it is difficult to buy firearms.

But Monday’s attack was the second this year, after a 19-year-old opened fire in his old school in the central city of Kazan in May, killing nine people.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2021

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