A gunman opened fire in an Orthodox church on the Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East, killing two and injuring six people, the local church authority said on Sunday.
The man broke into the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on Sakhalin Island, at around 7 a.m. Moscow time (3 a.m. GMT), and fired several shots, killing a nun and a worshiper. He was also shooting at the legs of running people and then started to shoot at the icons of Orthodoxal saints.
Six people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds in the legs, but their lives are not under threat, local authorities said.
The attacker was detained after the shooting at the scene by police. He has already admitted his guilt. The man in his 20s worked as a guard at a local agency. He may face a life inprisonment if convicted. The suspect will undergo a mental evaluation.
Some sources say the attacker was a stalwart of some pagan cult notorious for its intolerant and even agressive attitude towards traditional religions. According to some media, he has been also suffering from a heavy depression recently.
The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, held a prayer service in Moscow for the victims of the attack in Yuzhno Sakhalinsk, saying they had “died like heroes and soldiers on the front line.” He also said the attacker was likely a mentally ill person and that people in the church had died as they tried to prevent him desecrating the relics.
Regional authorities are going to pay 2 million rubles ($57,600) in compensation to each of the families of those killed in the attack, and 1 million rubles to those of the injured.
The shooting came just days after a teenager killed a teacher and a policeman in his school in Moscow.
Author: Julia Alieva