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

Rachel Blaney ‘humbled’ as NDP incumbent earns second term

Blaney will remain MP in North Island-Powell River riding

Comox Valley gives back

Groups, businesses and individuals helping others in the Comox Valley

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Rachel Blaney ‘humbled’ as NDP incumbent earns second term

Blaney will remain MP in North Island-Powell River riding

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Most Read