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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More