At least 20 people were killed and 35 more injured in an explosion and shooting on Oct. 17 at a polytechnic college in Kerch, a city of 146,000 people in Crimea, the Ukrainian territory that Russia has occupied since its military invasion of the peninsula in 2014.
The lone attacker reportedly committed suicide.
Russian authorities initially reported that there were 18 victims, including the gunman himself. But two more people died in hospitals overnight on Oct. 18. At least eight more people remain in intensive care with severe wounds.
The incident started when an unknown explosive device caused a large blast at approximately 12 p.m., the National Anti-Terrorism Committee of Russia reported on its website.
“All of the victims were taken to nearby hospitals. The Federal Security Service of Russia is investigating at the crime scene, searching for more explosive devices,” Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said, revealing no more details.
However, Olga Grebennikova, the college principal, told the Kerch.Net news website that the tragedy had been a school shooting and a terror attack.
“There are so many corpses there. This was a real terror attack. Someone broke in 30 minutes after I left the building. Started running and throwing explosive devices, bombing everywhere,” Grebennikova said at a scene on Oct. 17.
“After that they were running all across the second floor, opening the doors of classrooms and shooting everyone they found there. My staff and children died.”
The principal was away when the incident occurred, arranging a practical training session for students at a district council.
The Telegram Channel Mash, which is linked to the Russian police, published a photo of a young blond man, armed with a rifle – supposedly a screenshot from security cameras.
The Telegram channel 112 identified the man as Vladislav Roslyakov, an 18-year-old fourth-year student of the polytechnic college.
He entered the college in 2015 and got a gun permit in September and bought a rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition several days before the shooting, 112 reported.
The Russian Investigative Committee confirmed that on its website on Oct. 17 that Roslyakov’s body had been found in one of the classrooms of the college.
The investigators said that “after shooting other students and staff workers of the college, Roslyakov committed suicide,” the Investigative Committee message reads.
After the findings, the investigators reclassified the criminal case from a “terror attack” to a case of “the murder of two or more people.”
The same day investigators conducted a search in the apartment, where Roslyakov lived with his mother Galyna Roslyakova, a worker of the Kerch Oncology Center, 112 reported. They found more rounds of ammo and several homemade explosive devices, filled with shrapnel.
Roslyakov reportedly used the same type of explosive device in the college. He planted an explosive device in the dining room of the college and then, after the explosion, he allegedly started shooting the confused and scared students who fled from the blast. In the end, he shot himself in the head in the school library, Russian media reported on Oct. 17.
Roslyakov’s tactics, as well as his clothes ( white T-shirt, black jeans and heavy military boots), were similar to those used by the attackers in another infamous school shooting that occurred in the United States in 1999 — the Columbine High School Massacre.
In that attack, two students of Columbine High School in Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, shot dead 13 people and wounded 21 more. They also used homemade explosive devices in the school cafeteria and committed suicide after the massacre.
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