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6 killed in shooting spree in western Russia

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-22 23:28

MOSCOW - The death toll of a shooting spree in the western Russian city of Belgorod has reached six, local authorities said Monday.

"In a parkway in the city downtown, an unidentified man went on a shooting spree. Five people were killed on the spot, and the sixth one, a 16-year-old student, died in a hospital a few hours later," the Belgorod city government said in a statement.

Belgorod Mayor Sergei Bozhenov canceled all entertainment in the city and promised to financially support families of the victims.

He also declared Tuesday the day of mourning in Belgorod, regional capital located 700 km south of Moscow with a population of 700,000.

The Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal probe into the incident.

Investigators believed the gunman could be a formerly convicted local resident. The 31-year-old suspect abandoned his BMW car during a chase, which helped the police to identify the car owner.

Police initially suspected two men were involved in the shooting spree, which happened at about 14:00 Moscow time (1000 GMT) inside and outside a hunting equipment shop. The gunman opened fire using a rifle he had just bought in the shop.

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