KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) – Mourners left toys and flowers on Wednesday in tribute at a Russian school where nine people, including seven children, were killed after a teenage gunman opened fire at a school.
The attack on Tuesday in the city around 450 miles (725 km) east of Moscow was the deadliest school shooting since 2018 when a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people.
“(I came here) because this is such a disaster … It’s impossible to just remain indifferent,” a woman who gave her name only as Albina said after coming to pay her respects at School Number 175.
The head of Russia’s Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan, where Kazan is the main city, has called it a national tragedy and the Kremlin has called for tighter gun controls.
Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of gun are available for purchase for hunting, self-defence or sport, once would-be owners have passed tests and met other requirements.
Around 100 people, some of them wearing face masks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, gathered at a traditional Muslim funeral for Elvira Ignatieva, an English teacher who was among the victims.
“She was protecting her children … She was protecting (them) and didn’t hide away,” said Talgat Gumerov, a Kazan resident.
Twenty-three people were still in hospital on Wednesday, including 12 children with gunshot wounds, the TASS news agency reported. Five children were in a serious condition and one of them was critical, it said.
The Investigative Committee, which investigates major crimes, said that it planned to charge a suspect named Ilnaz Galyaviev later on Wednesday. A court was expected to rule later on the terms of custody for the 19-year-old.
(Reporting by Dmitry Madorsky; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage)