Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Loner" shoots 13 dead at Azerbaijan college

By Afet Mehtiyeva
BAKU (Reuters) - Thirteen people were killed at a university in Azerbaijan Thursday when a gunman went from floor to floor firing on teachers and students after the bell rang for morning classes.

The gunman, a Georgian citizen of Azeri origin described as a loner by local media, was among the dead.

Witnesses said the shooting began shortly after classes began at 9.00 a.m. (0400 GMT).

"He climbed from the first floor to the sixth, shooting people mainly in the head from a Makarov pistol," the state prosecutor's office said. The Makarov is a Russian-made semi-automatic pistol.
Thirteen people were killed and 13 wounded. Blood stained the steps to the university and staff and paramedics carried out bodies in bags.

A witness said one student had tried to stop the gunman, approaching him and shouting: "Don't shoot, don't shoot!" He was shot in the head.

The gunman killed a security guard and a cleaner as he entered the building, before opening fire on students and teachers, Azeri ANS television reported.

Police found three ammunition belts and 71 bullets on the body of the gunman, reported to be 29 years old. Officials could not confirm how he died, but Azeri media reported he shot himself in the head.

A senior aide to Aliyev said the motive did not appear to be political, Azeri Trend news agency reported. "Such incidents happen in many countries," Ali Hasanov said.

Novosti-Azerbaijan agency said the man had gone to Baku looking for work, having recently left his family in Russia to return to Azerbaijan. They described him as a loner who had fallen out with his father.



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