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Russia was hit by a major school shooting today with at least 13 dead, seven of which are children, after a gunman inspired by the infamous Columbine school shooting went on a rampage.
Initial reports said two security guard and several children were wounded or killed in the No. 88 school in Izhevsk – the capital of Russia’s Udmurt Republic roughly 600 miles east of Moscow.
Students and teachers were reported to be cowering under desks and hiding in cupboards in their classrooms as the gunman made his way through the halls. Other students were injured after jumping out of windows to escape the gunfire.
Footage showed armed police piled into the building in search for the gunman while other officers and teachers ushered panicked kids towards the exits.
Police later found the attacker dead in the school, having committed suicide.
His motive is unknown, but images published of the attacker’s clothes and weapons showed Nazi symbols and tributes to Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who staged an infamous school shooting in Colorado, USA, in 1999.
‘According to preliminary data, the offender was armed with two pistols. His identity has not yet been established,’ Alexander Khinshtein, head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, wrote on his Telegram channel.
Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed the death toll stands at 13, while 14 more were injured.
Armed police are seen tearing up the stairs in pursuit of the gunman as primary school age children run down stairs and are hustled toward the exits by officers and teachers
Rescuers are seen carrying a wounded child on a stretcher to an ambulance outside of the school
Grieving family members are pictured at the scene of a school shooting in Izhevsk
Police later found the attacker dead in the school, having committed suicide. His motive is unknown, but he was clad all in black and wearing a balaclava
Initial reports said a security guard died and ten children were wounded or killed in the No. 88 school in Izhevsk (pictured) – the capital of Russia’s Udmurt Republic
Video footage posted on the Telegram messaging app showed terrified children and a teacher cowering inside in a biology classroom as they hid from the gunman.
An unnamed girl posted from inside the siege: ‘We are in biology class.
‘Moved from class to lab. The whole class is sitting and crying. They don’t tell us anything. Very scary.’
Another video saw children aged around nine or ten huddled in a classroom and crouched on the floor.
They can be heard whispering ‘Be Quiet!’ to each other.
Reports said school director Elena Semashko, 50, had locked herself and a wounded teenager in an office to avoid the attack.
The press service of the Ministry of Education stated that the head of the department, Sergei Kravtsov, has dispatched a delegation to the school in the wake of the attack to oversee the investigation.
A major operation was underway from Russian law enforcement to break the siege, until it transpired that the gunman had shot himself in room number 403.
Once the attack was over, footage showed wounded children being taken out of the school to waiting ambulances.
One – with apparent wounds – was carried out on top of a school desk.
The school has 982 students and 80 teachers.
Many of those affected were first graders – seven years old – according to reports.
Video footage posted on the Telegram messaging app showed terrified children and a teacher cowering inside in a biology classroom as they hid from the gunman
Ambulances are pictured outside the No. 88 school in Izhevsk as a victim lies on the ground by the roadside
A major operation was underway from Russian law enforcement to break the siege, until it transpired that the gunman had shot himself in room number 403
A police van is pictured outside the school in Izhevsk
Governor of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov said: ‘We’ve got everything deployed at school 88. Special services, ambulance are all there. I am at the site, I’ll be reporting all updates.
‘So far, an unidentified person entered the school, killed a guard, it is already known that there are victims among children and wounded. Now the evacuation has ended.
Brechalov later reported: ‘It is already known that a guard was killed, there are victims among children, wounded… The attacker shot himself.’
Izhevsk is the headquarters of the Kalashnikov weapons empire and the birthplace of the famed AK-47 assault rifle, among many other small arms used the world over.
The school is in the centre of Izhevsk, a city of about 650,000 residents, close to central government buildings.
The attack came as another gunman opened fire inside a Russian military enlistment office in the far-eastern city of Irkutsk, leaving the chief military recruiter in critical condition.
This is the moment gunman Ruslan Zinin, 25 (far left and second right), walked into a Russian enlistment office in Irkutsk and shot military commissar Alexander Eliseev (second left)
Dramatic footage captured the moment the man walked up to the recruiter has he stood on stage in front of new conscripts and fired a single shot at point-blank range while shouting: ‘Nobody is going to fight!’.
The man – identified as Ruslan Zinin, 25 – was angry after his friend got called up to the army following Putin’s announcement of a partial military mobilisation amid the war in Ukraine.
Zinin had told his mother that he was going to the recruitment office to enlist voluntarily, according to local reports.
Igor Kobzev, the governor of the Irkutsk region, said military commissar Alexander Eliseev was in ‘critical condition’ after the attack and that the shooter was arrested at the scene ‘and will definitely be punished.’
It comes as opposition to Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine grows after he gave the order to start conscripting men into the military, with a recruitment office in the Volgograd region fire-bombed overnight.