19 Killed in Blast, Shooting in College ‘Mass Murder’ Attack in Crimea’s Kerch
The attack has been perpetrated by a college student who “really hated” his school.
At least 19 people have been killed in an explosion followed by a shooting spree in a college in the town of Kerch on the Crimean Peninsula which is controlled by Russia.
A blast in the Kerch Polytechnic College on Wednesday killed 18 and injured at least 40 more people, while the main suspect for the attack, a college student, later committed suicide, state-owned Russian news agency TASS reports.
Russia’s Investigative Committee at first began declared the attack in Crimea’s Kerch an act of terrorism.
Subsequently, however, as more details emerged, the criminal case was requalified as mass murder, with Russian President Vladimir Putin describing it as a “tragic event”.
The suspect was one of the students of the Kerch Polytechnic College, Sergei Aksyonov, head of the Russian administration in Crimea, announced.
“The suspected attacker shot himself. He was a fourth year student of that college. His body was found in the library on the second floor,” Aksyonov said.
“The attacker acted alone, there is no other data,” Aksyonov stated, noting that the perpetrator was an 18-year-old local resident.
He was identified as Vladislav Roslyakov. A friend of his told the RBC TV that the perpetrator “hated the technical school very much”.
The Kerch Polytechnic College is a vocational school with about 850 students.
In an initial reaction, the school director told Russian media that the building had been attacked by armed men, and compared the situation to the school attack in Beslan in Russia’s North Caucasus region which left some 330 people, including over a hundred primary school children.
Public venues and facilities in Kerch were placed on high alert following the college attack, while other educational institutions have suspended their work, the city’s deputy mayor is quoted as saying.
The high alert status restricts access to the venues in question, including schools, kindergartens, and hospitals, provides for ID checks, and toughening of other security measures
Crimea has been under Moscow’s control since March 2014 when Russia occupied it from Ukraine in reaction to a pro-western revolution in Kiev. Because of that and an ensuing pro-Russian insurgency in Donbass in Eastern Ukraine, Russia has been subject to large-scale Western sanctions.
The Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is where Russia built a bridge between Crimea and the Russian mainland after seizing the peninsula.
(Banner image: Tass on Twitter)