At least 18 people, most of them young, were killed and over 40 injured in a bomb and shooting attack at a college in Crimea that local officials said was carried out by a student.
Crimea’s president Sergey Aksyonov, said that the attacker was a 22-year-old student in the college’s fourth-year class, and that the student killed himself.
“The potential killer has shot himself; he has killed himself,” Aksyonov told the Russian state television channel, Russia 24.
Reports in the immediate aftermath of the attack at the state polytechnic college in the Black Sea city of Kerch on the eastern side of Crimea were chaotic, but the college’s director suggested that a bombing was accompanied by a shooting rampage.
“Someone burst in; they were running, throwing plastic bags with explosives. Then they were running with assault rifles — I don’t know with what — around the second floor, opening rooms and killing everyone they could find,” the college director, Olga Grebennikova told KerchNet, a local Crimean television station.
An explosion occurred after a homemade bomb packed with metal objects went off there, Russian investigators said.
Russian authorities initially said they were treating the incident as a terrorist attack but later reclassified it as murder.
The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that President Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences to the victims and ordered emergency services to provide assistance.
About 200 soldiers and 10 military vehicles have been deployed to assist at the blast site at the school, TASS reported, citing local military officials.
Video and photos published by local Crimean media showed people being carried into several ambulances at the scene, and that some of the college’s windows appeared blown out. Russian state television showed video of military armored vehicles driving rapidly towards the college.
Crimea has been under Russia’s control since Moscow sent troops to seize the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
This is a developing story.