By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Russian authorities say a gunman has been detained after opening fire in a university in the Russian city of Perm, killing at least a handful of people.
Russian officials said at least eight people were dead and as many as 14 people injured.
The gunman was later detained following the shooting at Perm State University, Russia’s Interior Ministry said. There was no immediate information on the gunman’s identity or possible motivation.
The Perm State University press service said the perpetrator used a so-called “traumatic” firearm. Such guns are designed to fire non-lethal rubber or plastic projectiles but can be modified to fire other ammunition.
Students and staff of the university locked themselves in rooms, and the university urged those who could leave the campus to do so, news reports said.
Students jumped from first-floor windows to escape the building, landing heavily on the ground before running to safety, local media footage from the scene showed.
“They jumped out in some horror, screaming,” said university professor Ivan Pechishchev. “One of the students told me that it was a shooting. I heard pops; everyone began to scatter in different directions. I went to my students in the second building and continued to hear the pops,” he told reporters.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the jumping contributed to the reported casualties count.
Perm is about 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) east of Moscow, the capital, with a population of about 1 million. The university enrolls some 12,000 students.
The shooting came as Russia counted ballots of parliamentary elections expected to be won by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
It wasn’t the first attack on an education facility: In May, a gunman reportedly opened fire at a school in the city of Kazan, killing seven students and two teachers.
Officially, Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership.
But some categories of guns are available for purchase for hunting, self-defense or sport, once would-be owners have passed tests and met other requirements.
However, in a nation notorious for corruption and crime, many illegal weapons are used by crime syndicates.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.