Two people have been shot dead and six injured after a gunman opened fire in a cathedral off the coast of Russia, according to witnesses. A nun and a member of the congregation are among the dead following the attack in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, a city located on the island of Sakhalin. A suspect has since been arrested and is being questioned about his involvement in the attacks.
Although the surviving casualties were shot in their legs – some of whom have serious injuries with a lot of blood loss – the wounds are said to be not life-threatening. The shootings, which took place on Sunday, come less than a week after another fatal rampage. In that case, a student used his father’s firearms when he killed a policeman and a teacher at Moscow school. The shootings have led to a debate on tougher sentencing for someone who uses his or her own guns to shoot members of the public.
Security in Russia has been the subject of much scrutiny in recent weeks as the largest country in the world stages the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. However, there is no evidence the the attack is linked to the games. Although some shootings have happened in public areas in Russia in the last decade, they are rare and do not make the headlines like similar ones that happen in other countries, such as the U.S. Russian media has often been criticized for the way it manages news coming out of the country.
The location of the attacks will also provide some relief to games organizers, participants and Putin in that the Russian Orthodox cathedral attack occurred thousands of miles east of Sochi. The area was once part of Japan before the Soviet Union took it over at the end of the second world war. Economic relations between leaders in the respective capitals have been frosty ever since.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had emphasized on many occasions that security was tight across the country and ready to thwart attacks should they arise. It followed claims from an Islamist group, which threatened to arrange an attack aimed at disrupting the Winter Olympic games. Indeed, much of the world’s media has long questioned whether Russia was ever in a fit state to host the games owing to its human rights record, such as its view on homosexuality and tough stance on anybody who protests about sensitive issues in the country. Russia was also awarded the 2018 FIFA World Cup – another event that raised eyebrows around the world when it was awarded. Now the President must deal with the fact two people have been shot dead and six injured after a gunman opened fire in a cathedral off the coast of Russia. according to witnesses.
The area of the cathedral that witnessed the attack will first be cleaned to remove the blood from the victims. The Investigative Committee said psychiatrists would examine the suspect to ascertain if he was suffering from any mental condition. As information gradually hits the wires from information passed on from Russian media, so far all that has been reported is that two people have been shot dead and six injured after a gunman opened fire in a cathedral off the coast of Russia, according to witnesses.
By Robert Shepherd