Ax & arson havoc at Russian school: Teen injures 6, starts blaze

A student armed with an ax reportedly stormed a school in the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude and used a Molotov cocktail to set the building on fire. It is the second school attack in Russia in the space of a week.

According to the Buryatia Republic authorities, seven people were wounded, including the attacker whose injuries were self-inflicted during his arrest. One of the wounded, a 13-year-old girl, is in a coma, local media reported citing the victim’s aunt.

Initial reports in the local media said a student stormed the high school with an ax and attacked a teacher and at least three students. He chopped off one of the victim’s fingers, according to some reports.

Courtesy: Investigative Committee Of The Russian Federation For The Republic Of Buryatia

According to one account of the attack shared by the Telegram news channel Mash, the student, identified as ‘Anton,’ entered the school armed with an ax and a Molotov cocktail. He then went into one of the classrooms, where a seventh-grade Russian Language and Literature class was underway.

The attacker opened the door and threw the petrol bomb inside, starting a fire and causing panic. The teacher then tried to protect the children in the class and confronted the attacker, who struck her with the ax before attacking the students.

The regional office of the emergencies ministry confirmed there had been a fire at the school, but said the flames were quickly extinguished. There are no confirmed reports of injuries relating to the blaze.

More than 500 people were evacuated from the school.

The perpetrator had earlier told one of the schoolgirls about his plans via the Viber messaging app, a local woman was cited by Ruptly as saying. “The boy told her [the girl] not to go to school because ‘there will be a massacre,’” she added.

The teen reportedly asked his friends to be his accomplices but they refused, a source close to the situation told Interfax.

“We were having a lesson, then someone stormed the classroom and threw a bottle [a Molotov cocktail]. It exploded and the curtains caught fire, the class ran out,” a girl named Lisa who witnessed the attack told Mash. She said that one of her classmates was knocked down and hit in the head with an ax several times. Another girl sustained injuries after being slashed in the face. “It was a nightmare!” Lisa added.

The teacher, 41-year-old Irina M. shielded her students from the attacker, a local witness told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. She sustained a head wound and is now in hospital.

“I was hit in the head. I didn’t feel the blow at first,” the teacher later said, recalling the tragic events, according to Mash. 

A criminal case has been opened against the attacker on charges of attempted murder. Local investigators will also look into whether school staff did enough to prevent the attack. The school wasn’t guarded by any private security company, the Buryatia children's rights commissioner said.

Courtesy Baikal Media

Sergey Menyaylo, a presidential envoy from the Siberian Federal District, told TASS that the teen was a member of a closed group on a social network. The investigation is currently verifying whether he was linked to the Perm attackers.

Menyaylo compared the Ulan-Ude incident to the social media ‘suicide game’ dubbed ‘Blue Whale,’ as reports say that the teen attempted to kill himself after the attack.
The disturbing game engaged vulnerable teenagers on the internet and manipulated them into completing a number of stunts over the course of several days. The challenges handed out by the game’s ‘curator’ involved various forms of anti-social behavior and self-harm which allegedly culminated in the supervisor demanding the player take their own life.

Similar incidents that have taken place in Russian schools in the past six months are interlinked, a law enforcement source told Ruptly agency. There are teen ‘death groups’ on social media that promote ‘Columbine-style school attacks,’ the source added.

At least a dozen people were injured in a school in the city of Perm on Monday, after an 11th grader and a former student entered the building armed with knives and attacked a female teacher and nine students. 

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