Shocked Russians gathered Tuesday to mourn the deaths of six people gunned down by an 18-year-old student who also left two dozen others wounded at a university in the city of Perm.
The gunman — identified in local reports as 18-year-old Timur Bekmansurov — opened fire Monday at Perm State University, prompting students to barricade themselves inside classrooms and to jump from first-floor windows to escape the carnage.
Natalia Sokolova, whose son attends the university some 800 miles east of Moscow, was among the dozens who gathered outside the campus to pay their respects and lay flowers.
She said she almost fainted when she heard of the shooting, forgetting that her son had not been in class that day.
“People like that shouldn’t be allowed to get in and study at universities,” Sokolova told Reuters, referring to the suspect, who was wounded after resisting arrest. He had obtained a hunting rifle in May, officials said.
The alleged shooter — who had posted a picture of himself with a rifle, helmet and ammunition — wrote on social media that he dreamed of carrying out a shooting, though authorities have not disclosed a motive for the attack.
His post, which could not be independently verified, suggested that his actions were motivated by hatred, not politics or religion, according to Reuters.
Among the victims were four students identified as Anna Aigeldina, 24, Alexandra Mokhova, 20, Ksenia Samchenko, 18, and Ekaterina Shakirova, 19.
Ksenia Punina, 40, a professor of international relations at Perm, told Agence France-Presse that she was still in shock by the slaughter.
“Our university is our home,” said Punina, who wore a black mask bearing the university’s name. “It’s completely unexpected –a total shock when a man comes into your house with a weapon to your family.”
Yuri Aydarov, an adviser to the rector, said: “I told students they have to move from the windows and lie down.”
He added: “We were sitting quietly. Then there were shots and screams in the corridor.”
President Vladimir Putin described the shooting — which claimed the lives of one man and five women between the ages of 18 and 66 — as a “great loss” for the entire country.
Nine people remained in critical condition, according to Health Minister Mikhail Murashko.
Economics student Alexei Yuldashev, 21, said he couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Suddenly one of our classmates wrote to us that a shooting had started,” he told AFP. “We didn’t believe it at first. We closed ourselves in the lecture room until we were told to get out.”
Maria Zhyzhyleva, a 20-year-old geology student, was coming to terms with classes opening after the incident.
“Imagine you arrive at university knowing that a man was lying here killed. Just try to imagine that. Personally, it will be hard for me,” she told the outlet.