A gunman wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a swastika killed 15 people, including 11 children, at a school in the Russian city of Izhevsk on Monday, authorities said.
The attacker, named by investigators as Artyom Kazantsev, wounded 24 others during the rampage at School No. 88, nearly all of whom were children. He shot himself and died after the attack.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, which handles major crimes, said the 34-year-old attacker was a former student of the school in Izhevsk, a city 960 kilometers (600 miles) east of Moscow.
In a statement, carried in Russian media outlet Tass, the committee said investigators were searching Kazantsev’s home and probing his suspected ties to Nazi ideology.
It was impossible to independently verify the reports due to the suppression of independent and foreign media in the country.
Images from the scene shared by the committee showed the gunman wearing a black T-shirt with a red swastika on his chest, and a balaclava. Other images showed his pistols had braided decorations – one read “Columbine” and the other, “Eric” and “Dylan,” a reference to the gunmen who carried out the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, US in April 1999.
Other footage online showed scenes of terror inside the school as the attack unfolded, with children cowering inside classrooms. Children aged 6 to 16 study at the school.
Alexander Brechalov, the governor of Udmurtia, the Russian republic of which Izhevsk is the capital, said the gunman had been registered with a psychiatric facility, while Russia’s National Guard said the gunman had used two non-lethal handguns that had been modified to fire bullets.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his “deepest condolences” over the massacre through his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
“Putin is deeply saddened by the death of people, children in the terrorist attack on the school seemingly committed by a member of a neo-Nazi group,” said Peskov.
The attack is the deadliest of a string of school shootings in Russia in recent years, including an attack in Kazan in May last year in which nine people were killed, and another last September at a university in Perm, in which six people were killed.