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17 Oct, 2018 16:38

Kerch carnage: What we know so far about attack on Crimean college

Kerch carnage: What we know so far about attack on Crimean college

An assailant, armed with a gun and a homemade bomb, burst into a technical college in Crimea, killing at least 20, mostly underage students. In the aftermath of the attack, we sum up what is known so far.

How it unfolded

The attack took place on Wednesday afternoon in the city of Kerch, the entry point for a new Crimean bridge connecting the peninsula to mainland Russia.

READ MORE: ‘Bodies lying everywhere’: Shooting at Crimea college has echoes of Columbine massacre

First reports said a powerful blast rocked the college building and it was initially thought to have been caused by a gas explosion. But soon a homemade device was found at the scene. It had detonated, shooting shrapnel in all directions. Firefighters and bomb disposal teams were deployed.

The attack initially was classified as an act of terrorism. As witnesses started to come forward they spoke of a gunman on a shooting spree. The young man, armed with a gun hit students and staff.

It seems the shooting followed the explosion, and it is thought that the victims were killed by the gunfire, Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed. The crime is now being investigated as murder and not a terrorist attack.

At least 18 people have been killed and many more wounded at the college. Most of them turned out to be underage students. The attack saw people jumping out of windows and running for their lives. Students and staff described scenes of carnage inside the college as panicked pupils tried to flee the building.

One survivor said she was lucky to escape with her life. “My friend was killed right in front of me. I saw her fall and simply stop moving. I saw boys dropping dead and blood spilling everywhere.”

READ MORE: ‘We want to live’: Terrifying VIDEOS of students fleeing Kerch college massacre

Another student described fleeing from the college. “My friends and I were standing outside. Then there was an explosion, all the windows blasted out. We ran, climbed over the fence. There were more explosions or some similar noise. We just ran as far as we could.”

The gunman

The Investigative Committee said the attacker was 18-year-old student of the college named Vladislav Roslyakov.

Roslyakov carried a high-powered firearm – a shotgun or an assault rifle. After the shooting spree, he shot and killed himself in the college library. His motive for the rampage is still unclear. Media speculation focused on his family and personal life, while his friend told Russia's RBC broadcaster that he “hated the college very much.”

Security lapse?

A college employee, Natalya, who spoke to RT after being treated for an injury in hospital, said the gunman probably entered the building through the back door. “The fence there can be easily climbed over. There is no CCTV either, no secure door,” she said.

This is the first major attack on Crimean soil since the region was reunited with Russia following the 2014 referendum. Gun violence is rare in Russian schools.

The last deadly shooting happened in 2014, when a student armed with two rifles opened fire in a high school in Moscow, killing a geography teacher and a police officer. He also held about two dozen students hostage and battled police officers responding to the situation before his father entered the classroom in a bulletproof vest and persuaded him to surrender.

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