Moscow school hostage crisis leaves two dead
MOSCOW, February 3 (RAPSI) - The Russian Interior Ministry has confirmed an incident involving an armed intruder inside Moscow School 263, leaving one policeman and a teacher dead.
The Ministry’s press service statement says that an armed man, first reported a parent of one of the students, overpowered a guard and broke into school 263 in the Otradnoye district of northeast Moscow. On his way to the classroom, the suspect fataly wounded one of the teachers, and then opened fire on the police unit arriving at the scene.
Later, as of 13:09, the suspect was reported as 'neutralized' with one policeman and a teacher listed as casualties. The Ministry reports that the suspect was a school's student. Witnesses report an EMERCOM helicopter landing outside the school.
The police say there were at least 20 students and a teacher in the classroom with the gunman. Investigative Committee reported that a criminal case on taking hostages, murder and threatening the life of a police officer was initiated.
One of the students told the Life News television network that the attacker was one of the best students in the class and was not involved in any conflicts at school, including with the murdered teacher. However, the Kommersant newspaper said the student was angry at the teacher for preventing him from being awarded a gold medal for academic performance.
Investigators report that the suspect fired no less than 11 shots, weilding two carbines legally registered to his father.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has ordered security checks at the city’s schools to prevent another such incident from occurring in the future. School shootings are extremely rare in Russia. President Vladimir Putin called the incident a tragedy.
In accordance with the Russian Criminal Code, underaged criminals face a maximum sentence of ten years in a juvenile correctional facility. In the aftermath of Monday's incident, lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky proposed the idea of lowering the age threshold from the present 14-16 (depending on the nature of the charges) to 10 years. Teenagers may think twice when they know they may face real punishment, Zhirinovsky says. If the student who went on a rampage Monday faced a life term in prison, he may have changed his mind, the lawmaker added.