Police are searching for a suspect in the Monday shooting in the Russian city of Belgorod. A gunman opened fire near an arms shop, leaving six people dead and one injured. A 14-year-old girl is among those killed.
Police have asked Belgorod residents not to leave their homes because of the special operation. The photo of the suspect – Sergey Pomazun, 32 – and his description have been posted on the internet. Law enforcers also warn that the man at large may be armed with a gas pistol and a semi-automatic rifle.
Belgorod authorities earlier stated that the suspect had been detained by police. However, they then said that the report was published on the local administration’s website by mistake.
“Information on the detention of the suspect has not been confirmed, the Interior Ministry told us two minutes ago,” the city administration’s press service told Interfax.
The man is still at large. Currently, law enforcers are checking vehicles and housing estates in Belgorod and its outskirts, the regional Interior Ministry Department said.
His residence was earlier cordoned off by police. While searching the suspect’s apartment, investigators discovered an open safe used for storing weapons, but found it empty. No weapon was located in the gunman’s abandoned car either.
About 2pm local time (10:00 GMT) the gunman drove up to a shop in a dark BMW X5. Getting out of the car, he opened fire in the street and then inside the shop. He then managed to flee the scene in his vehicle.
As a result of the shooting rampage, four men aged between 28 and 45, and two schoolgirls were killed, police said. One of the girls, a 16-year-old, was taken to a local hospital, but died later in the ICU. She would turn 17 in just over two weeks – on May 9.
The Belgorod shooter allegedly used a Kalashnikov-based semi-automatic 7.62 caliber Saiga carbine, popular with hunters, reports Lifenews tabloid.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is being kept informed on the development of the situation, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists.