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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs