December 13, 2023

School Shooting Shakes Bryansk


School Shooting Shakes Bryansk
Bryansk City Center
Pavel Demin

On December 7, 9-a.m. classes at the Nº 5 Gymnasium in Bryansk were interrupted by gunshots. A fourteen-year-old student entered a biology classroom with a gun, killing a student and injuring 5. Then she killed herself.

Alina Afanaskina's father, a boxer and hunter who worked at a private security firm, owned a rifle kept under lock and key. It is believed that Alina took her father's gun the day before the attack during his birthday celebration. Afanaskina hid the weapon and a hunting knife among art supplies and went to school with her twin sister Daria. The security guard on duty at the Nº 5 Gymnasium, Galina Chertkova, did not suspect anything was out of the ordinary with the eighth-grader. The school metal detectors were not working.

During the second period, Alina entered her biology class and immediately began shooting. The teacher in charge, Ofelya Mkrtchyan, tried to convince her to stop as students hid under their desks. A 13-year-old was shot and died on the way to the hospital. Two of the wounded were carried by plane to Moscow. Alina Afanaskina shot herself. Her twin sister was unharmed.

Authorities have not concluded what the motive was for the shooting. Among Alina's belongings, there was ammunition and a notebook with a note that read, "You must definitely meet with a friend." A former student at the gymnasium said Alina was being bullied. The Executive Director of the National Center for Children's Assistance, Ekaterina Mizulina, claims that Afanaskina had a conflict with the dead victim over a boy.

The police have detained the head of the security company in charge of the gymnasium, the security guard on duty, and the schoolgirl's father. 

Residents have left stuffed animals and flowers on the Gymnasium gate. School authorities have not announced when the school will reopen.

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