Gunman kills 12 at Azerbaijan university
He entered prestigious Azerbaijan State Oil Academy at a busy hour and ‘was just shooting right and left,’ an official says. More than a dozen people were wounded before the shooter killed himself.
By Megan K. Stack
May 1, 2009
Reporting from Moscow — A young man opened fire Thursday in a bustling building in a prestigious university in Azerbaijan, killing 12 people before turning the gun on himself.
The gunman was identified as Farda Gadyrov, a citizen of neighboring Georgia. He entered the building at Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in Baku, the capital, about 9:30 a.m. and began climbing the stairs, shooting indiscriminately as he went, officials said.
More than a dozen people were wounded. The gunman killed himself as police closed in.
“He was just shooting right and left around himself at people fleeing in all directions,” said Eskhan Zakhidov, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. “At that time, the building is usually full of students and professors.”
Gadyrov came armed with a Makarov pistol and several fully loaded clips, officials in the oil-rich former Soviet republic said.
“The attacker is a young man, but it’s not clear whether he was a student himself,” Zakhidov said. “His motives aren’t clear, either.”
“We were in an exam, we heard gunshots, we went out of the classroom in panic and saw a gunman opening fire on everyone,” Turkish student Bekir Belek told Turkey’s CNN-Turk television from a hospital in Baku. “Everywhere was covered in blood, all corridors. There are many wounded.”
“We were trying to escape but had to return when my friends were shot,” Belek said. “We took them to the hospital.”
The century-old oil academy once trained engineers who worked throughout the Soviet Union.
“I feel deep regret,” Education Minister Misir Mardanov told reporters, “and consider this a terrible incident for our society.”