News / Europe

Moscow Teen Kills Two in Rare Russian School Shooting

Interior Ministry members stand guard as bystanders and relatives of students gather behind a fence near a high school, where a student fatally shot a teacher and a police officer dead, on the outskirts of Moscow, Feb. 3, 2014.
Interior Ministry members stand guard as bystanders and relatives of students gather behind a fence near a high school, where a student fatally shot a teacher and a police officer dead, on the outskirts of Moscow, Feb. 3, 2014.
Reuters
A teenager described as a model student shot a teacher and a police officer dead and took more than 20 of his schoolmates hostage in a Moscow classroom on Monday, days before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics under tight security.

The suspect was disarmed and detained about an hour after the shootings after talking to his father, the owner of the two rifles with which he forced his way into the school in northern Moscow at midday.

The incident rattled nerves in a country on high alert for Islamist militant violence as athletes and spectators arrive for the Sochi Games, a prestige project that will help shape President Vladimir Putin's legacy.

Putin, who says young Russians are suffering from a moral vacuum left by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, said the attack might have been avoided with better cultural education.

It is almost unheard-of for a student to attack a school in Russia. A horrific assault in 2004 on a school in Beslan in the North Caucasus, in which more than 330 people were killed, was the work of Islamist separatists.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said the Moscow student may have suffered an "emotional breakdown".

The attacker knocked on the door of the 10th grade class about five minutes after the start of a lesson, his classmate Ivan Chekanov, one of the students who was held hostage, told Reuters later on Monday.

"We were glad to see him at first - but then he shot the geography teacher," Chekanov, 16, told Reuters. "He fired the shot, then he got up onto the podium, laid out his rifles and said he had 100 bullets and that he had come to die."

"Why is He Still Alive?"

"Andrei Nikolayevich [the teacher] was dripping with blood, he had fallen but he was still alive," he said. [The attacker] asked us: 'Why is he still alive? I killed him.' Everyone was silent."

"He said, 'Well, guys, your answer gets a 'D', and fired several more shots," Chekanov said by telephone.

The shooting sent dozens of other students scurrying into the street in sub-zero temperatures while a police helicopter landed in a snow-covered field outside and at least six ambulances rolled up to the scene.

Officials said the assailant had also shot a policeman responding to the incident, who died in hospital, and that another policeman had been wounded.

The incident began around noon when the attacker cocked a gun at a guard who tried to stop him entering the school, the federal Investigative Committee said.

It said the guard had managed to press an alarm button, bringing police to the school. "When the police entered, the shooter opened fire at them, wounding one and killing another."

Markin said the assailant fired at least 11 shots.

His father was brought in and spent 15 minutes talking to his son by phone before being given a bulletproof vest and going into the classroom. His son began releasing students 30 minutes later, Moscow police chief Anatoly Yakunin said.

"Once all the students were released and he was alone with his father, special forces ... seized the moment and the 10th grader was neutralised and detained," Yakunin said.

Chekanov said the attacker had phoned his mother from the classroom. "Then his father called, and he told him where the geography room was, and to come unarmed."

"His father asked him what he had done, where he had got the rifle," Chekanov said. "He got the weapons at home and he got the ammunition from the dresser or the cabinet - he answered something like that."

"He was Like Einstein"

A former classmate, Sakhobudin Tagoyev, said the alleged attacker was a model student who in the past had "set an example for the whole school".

"The teachers liked and respected him," Tagoyev said in an exchange with Reuters online. "He was like Einstein."

But Tagoyev also said the alleged attacker was quick to get nervous "if something did not work out for him ... or if he got bad grades".

Russian media said the alleged assailant might have been settling a score with the geography teacher. But Markin said there were "no serious grounds" to suspect the attack was the result of a personal conflict.

Putin told a Kremlin advisory council on the arts and culture in Pskov that "the new generation ... needs to be raised with good artistic taste and the ability to understand and value the theatrical, dramatic and musical arts".

"And if this was done as it should be in our country, maybe there would not be tragedies like the tragedy in Moscow today."

Irina Yarovaya, a pro-Kremlin lawmaker who heads the security committee in the State Duma, put some blame on "propaganda of aggression", such as violent computer games, but also said access to guns should be tightened.

She said the punishment for legal gun owners whose negligence enabled others to get their hands on weapons was "infinitesimal". The maximum sentence for the offence is six months.

Duma international affairs committee head Alexei Pushkov suggested Russia had embraced U.S. culture with deadly effect.

"Moscow school shooting: American movies and domestic serials, full of violence, are producing results - now it is like the USA here," he tweeted. "Is this what we wanted?"

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs