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Police official defends guard after fatal Moscow school shooting

February 11, 2014, 18:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"There were cases when the panic button at a facility was pressed some time after the criminals' attack, but the guard at that school was not stupefied"

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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Geodakyan

MOSCOW, February 11. /ITAR-TASS/. An Interior Ministry official defended a school guard from what he called "unjustified rebukes" for his actions during the deadly attack by a rifle-toting teenager.

"It would be unfair to reproach that guard from a private security enterprise, for not squaring up to the armed 15-year-old shooter as the latter was pointing the gun at him," deputy head of the Interior Ministry's public security department Leonid Vedenov said at an all Russian conference on private security firms.

"We assume — and I think so too — that the guard gave 100% of what was required of him in that situation," Vedenov said. "there were cases when the panic button at a facility was pressed some time after the criminals' attack," but the guard at that school was not stupefied, and activated the alarm system despite a threat to his life."

During the conference, State Duma deputy Anatoly Vyborny (United Russia faction) called for raising the legal status of private security firm personnel. "Last year, seven private guards died in the line of duty and another 15 were wounded. Thanks to private security firms' guards, police detained 120,000 offenders, including 9,000 criminals," the lawmaker said.

According to the Interior Ministry, there are 24,000 private security enterprises in Russia at present employing 750,000 certified private guards.

On February 3, a senior pupil of Moscow school # 263 entered the school building carrying a rifle. The guard managed to press the panic button before he was forced to accompany the adolescent to the biology classroom where his classmates were. The youngster shot at geography teacher Andrei Kirillov, 30, who died on the spot and then fired on the police called to the scene by the school guard. He wounded police Sergeant Vladimir Krokhin and killed his colleague Ensign Sergei Bushuyev.

Criminal proceedings were opened over hostage taking, murder and attempted murder of police. The shooter was detained.

Following the fatal incident, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin demanded a comprehensive check into city school security.

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the parliament's committee on security Andrei Lugovoi (Liberal Democratic Party faction) believes that armed school guards might be a "good preventive measure," while acknowledging its high cost.

"Whether school guards should be armed is a serious question. Before making such decision, we have to calculate how much it will cost," Lugovoi said at the Tuesday conference.

"In Moscow alone, we have some 1,500 schools; it's tremendous drain on the budget. Such incidents (taking schoolchildren hostage, murder of teacher and policeman by an armed pupil — Itar-Tass) are quite rare," he said.

In his opinion, city school security is adequate. "On the other hand, an armed guard would be a good preventive measure. I have no unequivocal answer yet — whether or not school guards should be allowed to carry firearms," Lugovoi said.

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