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Scene at School No. 88 today in Izhevsk, Russia, where a gunman killed 13 and wounded 21 before killing himself. - Russia OUT (Photo by Maria Baklanova, Kommersant Photo, AFP, Getty)

Swastika-Adorned Gunman Opens Fire at Russian School

A gunman shot and killed a security guard and then entered a school and opened fire in Russia on Monday, killing a total of 15 people and wounding 21 more, The Washington Post reported. The gunman reportedly killed himself at the scene.

The attack occurred at School Number 88 in Izhevsk, a city of 650,000 in the Udmurt Republic, which is 600 miles east of Moscow. The school includes children from first grade through the eleventh grade.

Russian officials said the assailant wore a black shirt with a red swastika symbol on it. The attacker used two handguns in the attack. Photographs from Russian media show the guns “had braided cords with the words Columbine, Dylan and Eric,” a reference to the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Several videos from the scene show panicked children running and law enforcement entering the building.

Officials also said the 34-year-old assailant was a former student at the school, and that they were searching his residence and seeking to learn more about the gunman.

There is no indication that the attack has any relation to burgeoning protests in Russia related to the partial mobilization of military reservists in Russia which have led to several violent incidents, including a shooting at a recruitment station in Siberia that occurred hours before the school shooting.

School shootings have been rare in Russia, though there have been a growing number of incidents in the last couple of years. A gunman killed nine people, including seven children, in a school shooting in Kazan in May 2021, and a shooter at Perm State University in September 2021 killed six and wounded 47. Prior to that, a student killed 21 and injured 67 in a shooting at Kerch Polytechnic College in 2018.

These shootings prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to call for a review of the nation’s gun regulations. This resulted in increasing the age requirement to procure hunting rifles from 18 to 21, as well as requiring more stringent medical checks. 

The guns used in Izhevsk are not legal in Russia, according to the BBC. The media outlet also reported that “earlier this year, Russia's security services branded as terrorist and banned a group they claimed existed, called The Columbine Movement, which according to them was linked to the Kazan and Perm attacks.”

No officials have yet attempted to connect the Nazi symbol worn by the Izhevsk school assailant and the justifications Putin has given for the war in Ukraine, which include to “denazify” the country.