Women light candles in memory of victims of shooting in the vocational college in Kerch, Crimea, in a church in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. An 18-year-old student strode into his vocational school in Crimea, Wednesday, then pulled out a shotgun and opened fire, killing 19 students and wounding more than 50 others before killing himself. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Manhunt in Crimea for possible accomplice in school attack

An 18-year-old student, who later killed himself, was initially believed to be the only one involved

Authorities on the Crimean Peninsula were searching for a possible accomplice of the student who carried out a shooting and bomb attack on a vocational school, killing 20 people and wounding more than 50 others, an official said Thursday.

An 18-year-old student, who later killed himself, was initially believed to be the only one to have been involved in the carnage at the Kerch Polytechnic College on Wednesday. Authorities haven’t provided a motive for the shooting, and teachers and classmates described the attacker as a shy man who had few friends.

But Kremlin-appointed Crimean chief Sergei Aksyonov told Russian news agencies on Thursday that it is possible that the attacker, identified as Vyacheslav Roslyakov, had an accomplice.

“The point is to find out who was coaching him for this crime,” he said. “He was acting on his own here, we know that. But this scoundrel could not have prepared this attack on his own, in my opinion and according to my colleagues.”

Residents of the Black Sea city of Kerch brought flowers and toys to a makeshift memorial outside the school on Thursday morning. Many were in tears and struggled to speak.

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Wednesday’s attack was by far the worst by a student in Russia, raising questions about school security in the country. The Kerch Polytechnic College had only a front desk with no security guards. Russia’s National Guard said Thursday that it has deployed officers and riot police to all schools and colleges in Kerch in the aftermath of the attack.

The death toll from the shooting climbed by one to 20 on Thursday after one of the wounded died in a hospital, and the first victim will be buried later in the day.

Dozens remain hospitalized in Kerch, and at least 10 people with severe injuries will be airlifted to top Russian hospitals for surgery, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said.

Most of the people killed died from gunshot wounds, and those who ended up hospitalized have injuries from a blast from an improvised explosive device that was packed with shrapnel.

“The kids’ muscles have been ‘minced’ with small metal objects,” Skvortsova said. “Those who have their organs ripped apart, we are finding metal balls in kidneys, intestines, in blood vessels. That is how powerful the blast was.”

Skvortsova spoke of the severity of injuries some of the victims have sustained.

“Some people have feet, lower legs missing,” she said.

The school attack in Kerch was the greatest loss of life in school violence in Russia since the Beslan attack by Chechen separatists in 2004, in which 333 people were killed during a three-day siege, many of them children, and hundreds of others were wounded.

Since Crimea’s annexation, Russian authorities have repeatedly warned of a terrorism threat coming from unnamed Ukrainian nationalists as well as ethnic Tatars, an indigenous Crimean people. But despite acts of public defiance and rallies, both groups haven’t been engaged in any violent activities in Crimea.

Russia has fairly strict gun legislation. Civilians can own only hunting rifles and smoothbore shotguns and must undergo significant background checks. Roslyakov had only recently received a permit to own a shotgun and bought 150 cartridges just a few days ago, according to local officials.

Asked about possible plans to further restrict gun ownership in Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov urged caution and said the government would wait for the results of the investigation.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Car crash causes traffic delays along Highway 97

An accident has been reported on Highway 97 and Leathead Road

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

A mother’s warning: Man follows Peachland teen to her home from Kelowna

The teen’s mother is warning others about the incident

Residents of Oliver OK with 9 per cent tax increase

The increase is a result of the cost of policing being turned over to the town

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Thieves steal bottles, mattress from recycle depot

Chase RCMP still investigating theft of tires, generator from commercial garage

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Regional district seeks $13 million to get rolling on Rail Trail

Federal grant would pay for a paved path from Sicamous to Armstrong

Cold War Cabaret offers song, slam poetry and sock puppets

Devon More returns to Shuswap with Berlin Waltz, March 16

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Shuswap athletes help Team BC to podium at Canada Winter Games

Speed-skater wins bronze, ringette player contributes to playoff victory

Most Read