After deadly Moscow school shooting, Putin calls for emphasis on culture

Children walk out of the premises of a high school, where a shooting incident has occurred, on the outskirts of Moscow, February 3, 2014.
Children walk out of the premises of a high school, where a shooting incident has occurred, on the outskirts of Moscow, February 3, 2014.
Credit: Reuters

A Moscow high school student who shot a teacher and a policeman to death Monday, just days before the Sochi Olympics, apparently had a nervous breakdown, according to a state official.

Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told journalists he believed the student, 16-year-old Sergei Gordeev, suffered an emotional disorder, as he had an excellent school record and no previous apparent conflicts with either teachers or fellow pupils.

Gordeev was a “straight-A student and most probably he had some kind of emotional breakdown,” Markin said. He added that detectives “will examine a computer of the senior student and all details of his private life.”

Gordeev reportedly made his way into School No. 263 in northwest Moscow by threatening a guard with two rifles registered under his father’s name. He then entered a classroom and shot his geography teacher, 31-year-old Andrei Kirillov. When he saw that Kirillov was still breathing, Gordeev came up closer and shot him again in the head, killing him, a student told his mother, who retold the account.

The shooter then took about 29 students hostage, authorities said. When police arrived at the scene, the gunman shot and killed one police officer and wounded another. Gordeev surrendered to police after his father arrived at the school and persuaded him to lay down his arms, local news agencies reported.

“Everything happened very quickly – in panic we evacuated from our lesson,” one student, who was in a nearby classroom at the time, told Metro. “We took refuge in another school close by, but we saw special police units and ambulances arrive. When others were being evacuated, I heard a few shots. Some of us were crying, but we had to calm ourselves down.”

While authorities are investigating the full extent as to why Gordeev went on a shooting spree, classmates have described him as an “unusual guy.”

“He wasn’t pleasant,” Gordeev’s classmate told Metro. “He was strange, not like everyone else. He put a lot of videos about weapons on his [social networking site] VKontakte page.”

Indeed, on what is presumed to be Gordeev’s account is a publicly-available video called “The fastest shooter in the world Bob Munden,” RT reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the shooting by saying that a better cultural upbringing will prevent such tragedies.

“We have to raise a new generation of theater-goers with good artistic taste who can understand and value theatrical, dramatic and musical art,” he said at a meeting with theater workers in the city of Pskov. “If we had done this in a proper way, then perhaps there would not have been a tragedy like today’s in Moscow.”


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