Crimea death toll rises to 20; authorities question if shooter acted alone

Coat of arms at an entrance to the city of Kerch

Coat of arms at an entrance to the city of Kerch Credit TASS

He said police arrived about 10 minutes later to evacuate people from the college and he saw dead bodies on the floor and charred walls.

A woman prays near a memorial to the people killed during an attack in the vocational college in Kerch, Crimea. Authorities haven't provided a motive for the shooting, and teachers and classmates described the attacker as a shy man who had few friends.

"The area adjacent to the college has been cordoned off and an evacuation of people who were in the building has been carried out".

There seems to be some disbelief among Russian officials that the Kerch rampage could have been a lone wolf attack and not part of something broader and more directed.

A source in the emergency services told RIA Novosti state news agency that Roslyakov had legally acquired a gun licence.

The distrust of the official version derives from the fact that Crimea, annexed in March 2014 after a referendum that the worldwide community views as illegitimate, differs from Russia's other regions.

The blast was initially thought to have been caused by a gas canister but Russia's anti-terror agency, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC), said an "unknown explosive device" was used.

"He wasn't aggressive, he was rather timid", Aksyonov said, speculating that Roslyakov might have "watched some movies" that inspired him to go on the shooting spree.

Investigators reportedly found a second explosive device among the personal possessions of the shooter that authorities ultimately disarmed.

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The attack was then reclassified as a murder.

The Prosecutor's office of ARC brought criminal proceedings under article "terrorist act" in connection with the incident at the College in Kerch. But surveillance video soon circulated on social media purporting to show Roslyakov with a gun slung over his shoulder walking through the school, and several students described the horrifying sounds of gunfire echoing through the halls. Three days of morning were declared in Crimea on Thursday.

A sombre-faced Putin deplored the attack as a "tragic event" and offered his condolences to the victims' families at a news conference in the southern city of Sochi, where he was having talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

"Canada remains steadfast in its support for the people of Crimea, who have endured extreme suffering since 2014, and we stand in solidarity with them", Freeland said.

Sergei Aksyonov, the regional leader in Crimea, said that the student killed himself after the attack.

"When we all ran out into the corridor, there were others running and shouting that some guy with a machine gun was randomly shooting everyone in turn".

"They are children and staff", the witness said.

About that today on the streets of Kerch unusually small people, says the website Kerch.FM. Russia's National Guard said on October 18 that it has now deployed officers and riot police to all schools and colleges in Kerch.

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