MOSCOW (AP) — A gunman on Tuesday killed two children and a staff member at a kindergarten in central Russia, authorities said.
A man entered the kindergarten in the town of Veshkayma and shot a female staff member and two children, ages 5 and 6, before shooting himself, said Sergei Morozov, a federal lawmaker and the former governor of the Ulyanovsk region, where the killings took place.
One other staff member was wounded, according to local health officials. The motive of the gunman remained unclear. Ulyanovsk human rights envoy Sergei Lulkov told the Interfax news agency that the man had no relation whatsoever to any of the victims.
Russia’s human rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova identified the perpetrator as a 26-year-old mentally ill man. Ulyanovsk lawmaker Boris Stolypin told the Russian state Tass news agency that the gunman stole the weapon — an IZh-26 hunting gun — from another man, whom he also killed.
Police have launched a criminal investigation into the shooting, and Ulyanovsk authorities have promised to pay families of the victims 1 million rubles (about $49,000).