Russia is to tighten its gun laws after a teenager killed seven children and two adults at his former school in the city of Kazan.
Eighteen children and three adults were also injured in the attack on Tuesday morning, which prompted children to leap from third-floor windows to escape the gunman, who was eventually pinned down and arrested by police at the entrance to the school.
The attacker was identified as Ilnaz Galyaviyev (19), who is thought to have bought a semi-automatic shotgun legally after obtaining a licence last month; shortly before the rampage, he reportedly went on social media wearing a mask emblazoned with the word “god” and threatened to kill a “huge number” of people.
"This a great tragedy," said Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the Tatarstan region where Kazan is located, who arrived at the school shortly after the attack had left one floor heavily damaged from gunfire and what survivors described as an explosion.
“A heinous crime took place – innocent children were shot. We are establishing the reasons for what happened, all the agencies are working on it. I have the situation under personal control. The deepest condolences to the families of the dead,” he added.
Russia’s health and education ministers flew to Kazan, about 800km east of Moscow , and the country’s emergencies ministry dispatched a plane to Tatarstan carrying doctors and psychologists.
"We are awaiting a flight from Moscow. If necessary, federal medical centres will also provide support. Unfortunately there are [children with] gunshot wounds and fractures ... The doctors are doing all they can to save the lives of our children," Mr Minnikhanov said.
Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered Viktor Zolotov, the head of the country's national guard, "to urgently draw up new regulations on the type of weapons that can be held by the public ... taking into consideration the type of weapon used by the shooter", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“Sometimes there are weapons registered as hunting rifles, which in some [other] countries are used as assault rifles,” he added.
School shootings are not common in Russia, but Tuesday’s bloodshed stirred memories of a 2018 attack at a college in Kremlin-controlled Crimea, when a student killed 20 people and then turned his gun on himself.
“We heard the sounds of explosions at the beginning of the second lesson. All the teachers locked the children in the classrooms. The shooting was on the third floor,” one teacher at the school told local media in Kazan.
A schoolgirl called Zukhra told Russia's Ren TV: "We heard a big boom. It was actually a bomb going off. We got very scared and ran to the back window, opened it, and everyone started jumping out. We were on the first floor.
“I saw how eighth-graders jumped from the third floor to evacuate. After about five minutes I saw two men carrying an eighth-grader. They laid him on the ground and he was covered in blood. I was in total shock,” she added.
Russian media also asked former pupils at the school for their memories of Galyaviyev. “He was quiet, calm, kind. I went to him a few times for help with classes ... he did well in all subjects. I didn’t notice anything strange about him, I just thought he was a very closed person,” an ex-pupil named as Veronika told the RBK news outlet.
Galyaviyev is expected to undergo psychological assessment. In footage leaked from his holding cell, he is seen shouting that he considers himself to be a god, and he describes how “a monster began to awaken in me ... I always hated everyone and started to hate even more”.