Kazan (Russia) (AFP)
Mourners laid flowers on Wednesday at the gates of a Russian school where a lone gunman the day before killed nine people, mostly children, in one of the country’s worst shootings in recent history .
Flags were half-masted on official buildings on Wednesday, the official day of mourning, while funerals were scheduled for some of the dead later in the day.
Flowers were stacked in front of School No.175 in Kazan, the capital of the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Tatarstan, where the shooting took place.
“This is a huge and unexpected loss,” Irina Krasnikova, 42, told AFP.
“We live in such a pretty town. It’s hard to believe that this has happened to us… It has not happened to my children, but it is so painful, it is difficult to speak ”.
The shooting killed seven students and two adults, including a teacher, whom the TASS news agency identified as Elvira Ignatyeva, who was protecting the students from the gunman.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health confirmed to the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday that 18 children were hospitalized, eight of them with gunshot wounds and two in critical condition.
The state-run TASS news agency cited a source as saying a funeral was being held on Wednesday, while RIA reported that the remains of the victims had been returned to families.
The shooting shook Russia and prompted President Vladimir Putin to order a review of gun laws.
In the wake of the attack, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, called on lawmakers to debate a bill to strengthen controls on firearms licenses next week.
Russia has relatively few school shootings due to normally tight security at educational institutions.
The shooter was identified as 19-year-old Ilnaz Galyaviev from Tatarstan, who had been expelled from a local technical college due to a poor academic record.
© 2021 AFP