BAKU, Azerbaijan – A gunman opened fire at Azerbaijan's prestigious oil industry academy on Thursday, killing 12 people and wounding 13 before turning the gun on himself, the government said.
The suspect, Georgian citizen Farda Gadyrov, entered the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in Baku and climbed five floors of the building, shooting everyone he met along the way, according to a joint statement from the Interior Ministry and state prosecutors.
Gadyrov then shot and killed himself with the gun, a Makarov pistol, when he saw police approaching, the statement said. It mentioned no motive for the attack.
TV footage from inside the academy showed victims lying face down in the corridors, apparently dead, with blood seeping onto the floor. Students carried others, apparently injured, out of the building, and weeping women hurried out. The film was shown on Russia's Channel One news. Photographs showed helpers bandaging the wounds of those shot.
Victims described the ordeal.
"We were in an exam, we heard gunshots, we went out of the classroom in panic and saw a gunman opening fire on everyone, three of my friends were shot," Belek told Turkey's CNN-Turk television. "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, we took them to hospital," Belek said.
"There were bodies at each floor," said Ibrahim Kar, another Turkish student at the hospital.
Ilgar Mamedov, whose father was shot in the head in the attack and spoke to other victims in a hospital ward, outlined his account of the shooting. Mamedov's father is an employee of the academy.
Mamedov said the gunman was a short man who walked the corridors of the academy taking aim at the head of anyone standing within range, and shooting. If it was apparent a victim was not dead after a first shot, the attacker shot again, Mamedov said.
Azeri President Ilham Aliev offered condolences In a statement later Thursday,and said he would personally oversee the investigation.
The academy, which has existed under a variety of names since the beginning of the 20th century in this oil-rich former Soviet nation, has long been recognized as a major international center for the training of oil industry specialists.
Among its graduates were Vagit Alekperov, the president of Lukoil, Russia's biggest independent oil producer; Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos; Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan's first post-Soviet president; and Lavrenti Beria, the head of the Soviet secret police under Josef Stalin.
(Interior Ministry CORRECTS the death toll previously given by Health Ministry to 12 dead instead of 13, wounded toll to 13 from 10) )