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Student shoots classmate dead in Russian school before killing herself

A 14-year-old girl shot a fellow pupil dead and wounded five other children before killing herself at a school in the Russian city of Bryansk, officials said.

Investigators on Thursday said they were working to establish the motive for the shooting as well as how the student gained access to the pump-action shotgun which she used to shoot at her classmates.

“According to preliminary investigation data, a 14-year-old girl brought a pump-action shotgun to school, from which she fired shots at her classmates,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.

“As a result of the incident, two people were killed (one of them was the shooter), five [children] were injured and have now been taken to a medical facility,” according to the committee.

The authorities did not name the shooter but said the victim was a female classmate at Gymnasium Number Five, a secondary school in a Bryansk suburb.

The incident is a “terrible tragedy”, said Alexander Bogomaz, governor of the region, one of several southern regions that have seen cross-border attacks in the course of the war with Ukraine. Bryansk city has been targeted in occasional shelling and drone attacks.

Video shared by the RIA Novosti state news agency showed children cowered in a classroom behind a door barricaded with upended desks and chairs during the attack.

“Together with law enforcement agencies, we are determining the circumstances under which the student was able to obtain and bring a weapon to school,” Bogomaz said.

Investigators were also questioning the father of the attacker, according to Russian media.

Russia’s interior ministry said it was looking into a motive for the shooting.

School and university shootings are relatively rare and recent in Russia, and the country has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership.

People can buy some categories of guns, however, for hunting, self-defence or sport, once would-be owners have passed tests and met other requirements.

At least 17 people were killed, including 11 children, on September 26, 2022, when a 34-year-old gunman opened fire at a school in Izhevsk city, 960km (600 miles) east of the capital, Moscow.

On May 11 last year, a teenager in Kazan killed seven children and two teachers at his former school, prompting President Vladimir Putin to further tighten gun-ownership laws.

Russia raised the legal age to buy firearms from 18 to 21 after the Kazan shooting.

In Russia’s deadliest school shooting, an 18-year-old college student killed 20 people, including himself, and wounded 67 in the town of Kerch in annexed Crimea in 2018.

The first school shooting in Russia took place in 2014.

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