MOSCOW – A student opened fire Monday at a university in Russia, leaving six people dead and 28 hurt before being shot by police and detained, officials said. Other students and staff locked themselves in rooms during the attack and video on Russian news sites showed some students jumping out of second-story windows.
Beyond saying that he was a student, Russian authorities offered no further information on his identity or a possible motive.
In some footage, a black-clad helmeted figure could be seen striding on a sidewalk at Perm State University, cradling a long-barreled weapon. Russia’s Investigative Committee, the country's top body for criminal probes, said the gunman fired a smoothbore hunting weapon. That could indicate he used a shotgun.
The university, which has 12,000 students, said about 3,000 people were on campus at the time. The school is in Perm, a city of 1 million residents located 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) east of Moscow.
The Investigative Committee said six people were killed, revising down its earlier figure of eight dead. No explanation was given for the change. It said 28 people were injured and some of them were hospitalized. The Health Ministry said 19 of them were shot; it was not clear how the others were injured.
In a video released by the Interior Ministry, a witness whose name was not given said he saw the man outside after shooting two people and that he appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest.
A traffic police unit was the first to reach the scene and the suspect opened fire on them, according to the Interior Ministry. He was wounded when police returned fire and then was disarmed. The gunman also had a knife, the ministry said.
One traffic officer said people rushed out of the university building as gunshots were heard.
“I entered the building and saw an armed young man walking down the stairs. I shouted at him ‘Drop it!’" That's when he pointed the gun at me and fired. At that point I used my gun," officer Konstantin Kalinin said in the ministry video.
“I feel shock, disdain and anger,” university student Olga Kechatova said later at a makeshift memorial outside the university. “People who study with me at the university suffered and died for nothing.”
Although firearms laws are strict in Russia, many people obtain permits for hunting. News reports cited officials as saying the suspect had a permit for a pump-action shotgun, although it was not clear if that was for the weapon used.
School shootings are infrequent in Russia, but the Perm attack was the third such shooting in recent years. In May, a gunman opened fire at a school in the city of Kazan, killing seven students and two teachers with a registered weapon. A student at a college in Russia-annexed Crimea killed 20 students and himself in 2018.
After the Kazan shooting, President Vladimir Putin called on the national guard to tighten gun regulations. Russia then passed a law raising the minimum gun purchase age from 18 to 21.
The Russian leader offered his condolences on Monday.
“It is a tremendous tragedy, not only for the families who lost their children but for the entire country,” Putin said.