On Wednesday, October 17th, eighteen-year-old Vladislav Roslyakov opened fire at the Kerch Polytechnic College in Crimea before fatally shooting himself. Roslyakov was enrolled at the college as a fourth-year student. In addition to shooting victims with a hunting rifle, he also used home-made bombs.
The attack began with an explosion in the school’s cafeteria and continued with Roslyakov shooting victims at close range. According to other students and staff, there was pandemonium as students tried to escape the violence occurring in the building. In the early period after the incident, officials were unsure whether to classify the attack as terrorist-related or as a mass shooting; however, they have since concluded that it was the latter.
Upon hearing about the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a moment of silence. In a statement, he attempted to reassure the public by stating that “This is clearly a crime. The motives will be carefully investigated.”
The brutal attack came as a shock to many as school shootings in Russia are very rare. To some, this incident raised the question of whether gun violence in schools is a product of an increasingly globalized society. Putin reaffirmed this view by stating that the shooting “appears to be a result of globalization” and further adding that “On social media, on the internet, we see the creation of entire communities. Everything started with the tragic events in schools in the U.S.”
Mass school shootings have unfortunately been prevalent in, and therefore associated with, the United States. There is concern and speculation that Wednesday’s shooting could have been motivated by previous school shootings covered in the media.
The shooting once again brings up questions concerning the availability of guns, security in schools, mental health provisions for the youth etc. It is hoped that world leaders will pay attention to these concerns and create policies that better control access to weapons.
The shooting at Kerch Polytechnic College leaves 19 deaths: 15 students and five teachers. Almost 40 people were also injured in the shooting.