Shocked and grieving Russians gathered outside a university in the city of Perm on Tuesday after a student committed a campus shooting that killed six and injured dozens.
While a heavy police cordon still hung around Perm State University a day after the murders, they planted red carnations and lit candles at makeshift memorials.
Ksenia Punina, a professor of international relations at the university, told AFP she was in shock and pain as she began an official day of mourning over the attack.
“Our university is our home,” said the 40-year-old, who wore a black mask bearing the university’s name.
“It’s completely unexpected; a total shock when a man enters your house with a gun for your family.”
On Monday morning, a college student wearing black tactical gear and a helmet roamed the densely populated campus with a shotgun, shooting people in his path.
He was eventually confronted by the police and was injured while being held, after which he was hospitalized.
There is no indication yet of a motive for the attack.
The eruption caused chaos on campus, with images on social media showing dozens of students jumping through windows to evade the attacker.
President Vladimir Putin described the incident, which killed a man and five women between the ages of 18 and 66, as a “great loss” for the entire country.
By Tuesday morning, police had closed off the university’s mostly Soviet-era buildings except for senior staff.
The attack in Perm, some 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from Moscow, was the second mass shooting this year against students in Russia, and has attracted increasing attention for gun control laws.
‘Important to be together’
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that legislative measures have already been taken to further restrict arms purchases since the first attack this year in the city of Kazan, which killed nine people.
He said authorities would analyze what happened this time.
Investigators said the student who carried out Monday’s shooting legally obtained the shotgun earlier this year.
Of the roughly two dozen people injured in the attack, nine were in critical condition, said Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, who was sent to the scene to coordinate a response.
Local media said Education Minister Valery Falkov visited injured students in hospital on Monday evening and said those who need more intensive care will be taken to Moscow.
One of Punina’s students was one of the seriously injured, she told an AFP journalist at the memorial, and had undergone surgery after being shot in the stomach.
“We really hope all will be well with her,” she said.
Ekaterina Nabatova, a former student who came to pay her respects, said some of her former teachers and classmates who now work at the university had been on campus during the attack.
“They were all there yesterday,” she said. “It’s very difficult for the whole city. It is important for us to be together today.
Authorities have blamed foreign influence for past school shootings and say young Russians have been subjected to similar attacks online and on television in the United States and elsewhere.
In November 2019, a 19-year-old student in the city of Blagoveshchensk opened fire on his school, killing a classmate and injuring three other people before committing suicide.
In October 2018, another teenage gunman killed 20 people at a technical school in Kerch in Crimea, the peninsula Russia had annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
He was seen in CCTV footage wearing a similar T-shirt to Eric Harris, one of the killers in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which left 13 people dead.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)