MOSCOW — A gunman has killed at least eight people and injured 28 at a university in central Russia on Monday, authorities said.
The shooter was later detained, according to Russia’s Interior Ministry.
The death toll from the attack at Perm State University was confirmed by the Russian Investigative Committee, a federal law enforcement agency which has now opened a murder investigation.
The committee said some of the 28 injured people were treated in hospital for “injuries of varying severity.”
Earlier, Russia’s Health Ministry said seven people were being treated in nearby hospitals, one of whom is in a serious condition. Four were being treated at the scene, according to the Interfax news agency.
The Investigative Committee said the gunman was wounded during his arrest. His identity has not been released but is known to authorities, the committee said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Tass news agency that President Vladimir Putin “expresses his deepest condolences to those who lost their relatives and friends as a result of this incident.”
Health minister Mikhail Murashko and a team of specialist medics were to urgently fly to Perm, the Health Ministry said.
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The shooting began at around 11 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), the university said in a statement on the Russian social network VK.com.
The emergency message said:
“Attention! At about 11 o’clock, an unknown person entered the territory of the Perm University campus with a traumatic weapon and opened fire on the street.”
The Russian phrase “traumatic weapon” usually refers to a non-lethal weapon such as a pistol firing rubber bullets, although they can be converted to fire regular bullets.
Video posted to social media appeared to show people jumping out of windows and a man in black carrying a rifle and walking through campus. It is unclear how many injuries were caused by the gunman or people falling while attempting to escape. All classes were cancelled.
“This morning, the police on duty received a message that the sounds of shots were heard on the territory of the Perm State National Research University, and that there are dead and wounded.
The first to arrive at the scene were two police officers from the local traffic division, who entered the main building “to organize the evacuation of people,” according to Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
One of them, Konstantin Kalinin, was shot at by the suspected gunman. He returned fire and wounded the attacker before giving him first aid, the ministry said in a statement.
Perm is the main city in the state of Perm Krai, about 800 miles east of Moscow. Dmitry Makhonin, governor of Perm state, has declared Tuesday September 21 an official day of mourning
School shootings are relatively rare in Russia, but in May this year a gunman opened fire at a school in the city of Kazan, killing nine people including seven children.
Tatyana Chistikova reported from Moscow, and Patrick Smith and Bianca Britton reported from London.
Patrick Smith is a London-based editor and reporter for NBC News Digital.
Tatyana Chistikova is an NBC News producer based in Moscow, Russia.