Retiring Pilot Dedicates Flight to 13 US Service Members Killed in Afghanistan

It was the last mass casualty event during our 20-year war in Afghanistan — 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide attack at the Kabul airport, along with more than 160 Afghans.

The attack shook the United States and our allies to the core, particularly coming after the chaotic fall of the country to the Taliban.

While there may be no way to sufficiently honor those who paid the ultimate price during the Aug. 26 bombing, an unknown pilot is making the rounds on TikTok and Facebook for his fitting dedication to our heroes.

The video was posted to Facebook by Ryan Fournier, the founder of Students for Trump. However, it appears to have originated on TikTok, where it was uploaded by @roballnic1.

While the details surrounding the video are scanty — where and when it was recorded, who recorded it, who the pilot was — it’s the type of video that would be difficult to fake unless you have a spare Boeing 737 hanging around.


Watch: This 83-Second Video Is Absolutely Devastating for Joe Biden’s Presidency

What is clear from the video is that the pilot begins by saying, “We’re heading down to Houston, it should take us two hours and 27 minutes. The weather’s good, weather’s good, the ride should be good.”

As he was saying that, however, he was holding up a tablet with the pictures of some of the 11 Marines, one soldier and one sailor from the Kabul bombing.

“I’ve got six more days left here at Southwest Airlines, I have to retire because I’m 65 years old,” he said to applause.

“I’ll keep flying. And every time I fly now, I want to dedicate our flight and my trip to the 13 senseless losses of soldiers, sailors, Marines,” he continued.

“Men and women. My brother Marines, my sister Marines.”

This elicited a “hoo-rah” from the cabin.

“Everybody, just remember them,” he added. “And I don’t care who you hated or who you liked in the last election. What happened was just wrong.”

This got some assent from the cabin, too. He finished the preflight speech by saying, “We’ll get going. Smiles, everybody. And … remember the 13.”

With that, the pilot got a round of applause.


Watch: 2-Year-Old Has Asthma Attack as Flight Attendants Force Mask on Him

While the text overlaid on the original TikTok video said this was the pilot’s last flight, there’s no evidence of that in the video or in other reports. Given that he said he had six days left with the company and that “I’ll keep flying,” this seems unlikely.

However, the video also seems equally unlikely to be fakery.

It’s difficult to say that the deaths of 13 American service members in a suicide attack carried out by a branch of the Islamic State group could get lost in the shuffle, per se. However, there was so much senseless tragedy surrounding the fall of Afghanistan and our hasty withdrawal from the country that it was almost an afterthought. The whole affair stunned the nation and the world.

It’s not as if the men and women who were killed in the attack didn’t have their lives celebrated. This was the hometown welcome for Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum in Jackson, Wyoming:

However, it’s acts like these that go viral — and like it or not, social media status is currency these days.

This pilot, whoever he may be, made sure to spend that currency in the best way possible.

We may never know who he was. Rest assured, however, plenty of people will remember what he said.

If you’re going to mark one of your last flights piloting a commercial jet in a profound way, it’s hard to think of how you could do it better than this. Our hats are off to you, sir.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).


Morristown, New Jersey


Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture

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Forest Service sees bipartisan anger in Arizona over killed wildfire prevention contract

The U.S Forest Service announced the cancellation of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), prompting criticism from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and U.S. Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema.

“The Forest Service blindsided Arizonans with their decision to cancel the long-awaited 4FRI contract,” Kelly said in a press release. “This is unacceptable and is only going to further erode Arizonans’ trust in the Forest Service.”

The 4FRI initiative sought to clear brush from areas of northern Arizona that pose outsized forest fire risks. As more areas were to be thinned of the thick fire hazards, officials hoped to integrate wildfires into the risk management plan. The initiative was intended to treat millions of acres of forested land across the Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests in order to restore ponderosa pine ecosystems in northern Arizona and prevent wildfires.

Forest Service officials were expected to grant the contract for Phase 2 of the project in June to a private logging partner. However, in March, officials announced the number of acres to be treated, and last week, they canceled the contract solicitation for Phase 2.

“Overall, the government’s conclusion is that the requirements for meeting the restoration objectives…are not reasonably aligned to industry needs,” the Forest Service press release read. “In addition, significant financial and investment risks remain which ultimately represents a performance risk to the government.”

Ducey said he was frustrated by the government’s lack of action.

“Every Arizonan has an interest in keeping our forests healthy,” he said in a press release. “Clearly, we cannot and will not wait for the federal government to step up and do their part to protect our communities and address wildfire risks.

The governor referenced the AZ Health Forest Initiative legislation passed in March.

“This program utilizes Arizonans who are serving time to clear forests of debris – making our forests healthier and setting them up for post-release success,” he said.

In their joint press release, Kelly and Sinema said the cancellation will delay the thinning of northern and eastern Arizona forests, placing the state at further risk of forest fires.

“Today’s abrupt decision undermines years of work to protect Arizona communities from wildfires and flooding,” Sinema said. “This reversal comes at a particularly dangerous time for communities across Arizona, as wildfire season gets longer each year.”

She called the Forest Service to assure citizens that they will take action to protect Arizonans from wildfires.

“The federal mismanagement of our forests poses an ongoing risk,” Ducey said. “But Arizonans should know that we remain proactive in our pursuit of forest health and disaster prevention. We will continue to work with federal and community partners and safety personnel to protect people, pets and property.”

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How COVID Killed The Myth That Homeschooled Kids Lack Socialization

After more than a year of remote learning, students in New York City finally went back to school. Sadly, the city’s Department of Education fear of COVID-19 and servitude to teachers’ unions means that these schools will more closely resemble Siberian gulags than places of learning.

A recent opinion piece in the New York Post details the ridiculous lengths that many of Gotham’s schools are going to in order to defeat the virus, including “masked and distanced” recess, health concerns over many sports and other extracurricular activities that require “increased exhalation,” and the cancellation of field trips, group projects, and class parties. Despite returning to school, New York City kids are still forbidden from connecting meaningfully with their peers.

Ask any homeschooling parent to discuss the pushback that he’s received from friends and family over the years and he’ll tell you that the need for his children to be “properly socialized” has topped the list of concerns. “How will your kids learn to interact with different kinds of people if they don’t go to school?” these mostly well-meaning people ask, implying that learning at home will doom your children to a life of misanthropic isolation.

The long-standing myth that homeschooled children grow up to be socially awkward is easily debunked because it proceeds from the false (indeed, patently absurd) premise that, prior to the advent of mass public schooling in the mid-nineteenth century, children did not learn to get along with either their peers or other social groups.  This myth persists despite multiple studies that reveal that a majority of homeschooled children are just as well-socialized (or even better socialized) than their public school peers.  The socialization process is somewhat different for homeschooling parents, but these differences (largely in parental supervision and diversity of age range in social groups) are key benefits of homeschooling, not flaws.

For decades, members of the educational establishment have used the need for socialization to argue that kids are better off in government-run schools than being taught at home. Recent developments in American education during the Age of COVID, however, reveal that this argument is not just fundamentally flawed, but officially dead.

Newsflash: Masks and Social Distancing Make Socialization Difficult

Claims about the social benefits of modern K-12 education never made much sense to begin with. In this model, instead of organically meeting and interacting with others through a variety of community institutions (neighborhoods, churches, etc.), children spend most of their social time being forced to engage with a very small subset of individuals: those who were born within a few months of them. This artificial social situation exists nowhere else in American society; only in schools do we see such limits imposed on human interaction. As Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, wrote in 2012, “There is nothing natural about segregating kids by age. That isn’t how families work; it isn’t what the world looks like and it runs counter to the way that kids have learned and socialized for most of human history…”

In response to COVID-19, most schools have doubled down on this artificiality by imposing further strictures on their young charges, such as mask mandates and social distancing. Leaving aside the question of whether such strictures are even necessary given the low risk that COVID-19 poses to children, there is little doubt that they interfere with the school’s supposedly important mission of socialization.

The masks touted as a sine qua non by the CDC and teachers’ unions block children’s recognition and understanding of vital nonverbal communication cues, especially at younger ages. Social distancing expectations limit their interaction in school-based nonacademic situations, such as recess and extracurricular activities. As for remote learning, the educational “nuclear option” against the spread of the virus, one need only look at the various pre-pandemic studies on the damaging effects of screen time on child development to see the problems with this approach to both education and socialization.

When parents speak up regarding these matters, the educational establishment usually replies with some variation on “Hey, kids are resilient.” This is certainly true, but the fact that the educrats are willing to blithely dismiss these legitimate concerns reveals that any claims about the vital role of schools when it comes to proper socialization are hollow at best.

Not All Socialization Is Healthy

But that didn’t stop the educrats from claiming otherwise in order to maintain their power over American children. As schools started to emerge from lockdown at the end of 2020, stories about the lockdown’s negative effects on the mental health of students began to appear. The social isolation caused by remote learning, these articles said, confirmed the important role of government-run schools in the proper socialization of students.

Yet as any student will tell you, not all social interaction is positive. Bullying (both physical and digital) is on the rise in our schools, resulting in a documentable correlation between the beginning of the school year and feelings of depression and even thoughts of suicide in students. Is such emotional turmoil really a sign that our schools are providing proper socialization?

Common sense suggests that a socially well-adjusted student should be able to weather temporary bouts of social isolation by relying on other mental resources. Given the struggles of students during the pandemic, what passes for socialization in schools is more of a crutch for students to lean on than a set of tools for preserving their mental health. Take that crutch away in a lockdown and the students collapse.

Homeschooled children are certainly not immune from depression or other forms of mental illness, but their situation allows for greater social stability and positive interaction in the face of COVID-19. Their social circle is founded not on a massive faceless institution, but on the more intimate confines of the home and family. The greater degree of control that responsible parents have over the social circle of their homeschooled children both expands the number and types of people they interact with while limiting negative socialization.

As homeschooling continues to grow, we should expect the educational establishment to continue to push aggressively for children to return to the “care” provided by government schools. Because these schools have clearly failed to provide opportunities for healthy and effective socialization both prior to and during the pandemic, homeschooling parents can feel free to ignore the socialization argument that educrats will inevitably put forward.

Robert Busek is a Catholic homeschooling father of six. He has taught history and Western Civilization in both traditional and online classrooms for almost 20 years. The views he expresses here are his own.

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Biden meeting with Boris Johnson turns tense over U.K. teen killed by wrong-way driver

A diplomatic morass seeped into President Biden’s first White House meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday when the president was forced to answer for a U.S. woman accused of a fatal hit and run with a teenager in Britain.

“The case is being worked on,” Mr. Biden said when a reporter asked about Harry Dunn, who was struck and killed by a car while riding on a motorbike in the U.K. in August 2019.

The car’s driver, Anne Sacoolas, left for the U.S. several weeks later along with her husband, Jonathan, a U.S. intelligence officer stationed in England. Mrs. Sacoolas was able to leave Britain after the collision because the U.S. government invoked diplomatic immunity on her behalf.

“Based on what I’ve been told, it was not an intentional act,” Mr. Biden said. “It was someone new to driving on the wrong side of the road.”

Mr. Johnson said he knew the president was trying to move the case along. He expressed his sympathies to the Dunn family, calling the legal case a “very, very sad, very sad case.”

British authorities formally charged Ms. Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving — a crime that carries a 14-year prison sentence. She remains in the U.S.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Biden also discussed the case in June when they met at the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England.

The Trump administration denied Britain’s request to extradite Ms. Sacoolas.

The Dunn family then filed the civil lawsuit in the District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, seeking damages.

Radd Seiger, the Dunn family’s spokesperson, said Tuesday the two sides have reached a “resolution” in the civil damages claim.

“The family feels they can now turn their attention to the criminal case and the long-awaited inquest into Harry‘s death which will follow the criminal case,” Mr. Seiger said.

Former President Trump awkwardly tried to resolve the issue in October 2019 by inviting Dunn’s family to the White House. While they were there, he surprised them at Ms. Sacoolas was in a nearby room and wanted to meet with them.

Dunn’s parents refused, saying it would be damaging to their mental health to meet with her, saying such a get-together should have been planned.

This article included wire service reports.

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75 Dogs Killed In Fire At Boarding Facility, 59 Families Affected

The owner of a Texas animal boarding facility where at least 75 dogs were killed in a fire Saturday said he is “emotionally overwhelmed,” according to reports.

Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown caught fire around 11:00 p.m., Saturday night, with the entire building engulfed in flames.

Owner Phillip Paris offered condolences to 59 families who lost a pet during the blaze, according to KXAN.

“I am emotionally overwhelmed by the accidental fire on Saturday night at our business. Fifty-nine families are affected and their best friends won’t be coming home. As a dog owner, I feel their heartbreak immensely.”

Fire crews said it was “the worst possible” situation and that the animals likely died from smoke inhalation, according to KXAN.

The Georgetown Fire Department said Monday an investigation into the tragic incident is ongoing but “no information indicates the cause of the fire was criminal in nature.”

The fire department added families would be able to collect their pets’ remains Monday. (RELATED: ‘Horrible Tragedy’: Fire At Indiana Pet Store Kills Around 100 Animals)

“As part of this investigation, we have been working closely with the owner, and our combined focus is to reunite families with loved ones,” Fire Chief John Sullivan said. “We understand people want answers. We want answers, too. We have to make sure we’re evaluating all the facts, so we can understand what happened, so we can better prevent this in the future.”

The building did not have a sprinkler system as city codes do not require sprinklers for facilities of that size and use, according to the fire department.

The fire department said it is reviewing its fire code and will make recommendations to update the fire codes in fall of 2021. The fire department added the pet resort did not have a kennel permit as required by city rules but that the permit would not have affected fire prevention and suppression systems.

Paris said the fire was “100% accidental,” according to KXAN.

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Austin orders Air Force review of Kabul drone strike that killed 7 kids

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday instructed the US Air Force to conduct a 45-day review of the Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul that killed US aid group worker Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his family — including seven children — but none of the intended ISIS-K targets.

The Pentagon on Friday admitted the attack killed innocent civilians and that it was not a “righteous strike” that prevented an Islamic State bomb plot, as originally claimed.

Austin tasked Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall with selecting a senior officer “to study the degree to which any policies, procedures or targeting mechanisms may need to be altered going forward,” Kirby said.

The review also will “take a look at what levels of accountability might be appropriate and if so at what at what level,” he said.

Kirby said that the decision to launch the Hellfire missile that killed Ahmadi was made by a “strike cell commander” in Kabul.

The tragic error further marred the Biden administration’s departure from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of war. Some allied nations learned of the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline from news reports and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country prompted a deadly rush to Kabul’s airport. Hundreds of US citizens and thousands of at-risk Afghans were left stranded, despite President Biden’s assurances.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered an Air Force review of the Kabul drone strike that killed an aide worker and nine family members in Kabul.
Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, said Friday that the civilians “were tragically killed” in the strike one day before the final US evacuation flights from Kabul.

The Pentagon initially said the strike was a successful mission to prevent another bombing of the Kabul airport after 13 US service members and at least 169 Afghans died in a suspected ISIS suicide attack on Aug. 26.

Zemari Ahmadi and nine family members — including seven children — were killed in the strike.
Zemari Ahmadi and nine family members — including seven children — were killed in the strike.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had staunchly defended the drone strike three days after it occurred, saying, “the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.”

Ahmadi worked for 14 years as a technical engineer in Afghanistan for the Pasadena, Calif.-based charity group Nutrition and Education International, which feeds hungry Afghans. He had a pending application to move to the US as a refugee.

The scene of the deadly drone strike in Kabul on August 29, 2021.
The scene of the deadly drone strike in Kabul on August 29, 2021.
AP Photo/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi, File

The Pentagon said Friday it’s considering financial compensation to Ahmadi’s family. Relatives have said in interviews that they still want to leave Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and move to the US.

The US military separately said it killed two suspected members of the Islamic State group in eastern Afghanistan on Aug. 27 — though the Biden administration has refused to reveal their names.

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ISIS terrorist who killed US troops in Kabul was one of the terrorists released in Bagram

The ISIS terrorist who killed 13 U.S. troops and killed at least 169 Afghan nationals was freed from Bagram prison after U.S. forces abandoned the area during President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan.

Indian media Firstpost reported, “Senior Indian intelligence sources familiar with the case have told Firstpost that he was handed over to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency by the Research and Analysis Wing in September 2017. However, the jihadist walked free on 15 August along with thousands of other dangerous terrorists held in the high-security prison, taking advantage of the chaos that ensued in the aftermath of the United State’s hurried exit and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the entire country.”

The report said the terrorist was a former engineering student in India but was previously arrested for staging suicide bombings in New Delhi. The terrorist used his studies as a cover to enter the country.

“America’s disorganized retreat from Afghanistan has led to hundreds of highly-competent and highly-committed terrorists being set free to rejoin the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups,” an Indian intelligence officer, who allegedly worked on the case involving this specific terrorist, told the publication. “Literally a decade’s work on counter-terrorism has been undone by the US’ failure to secure key prisoners in Bagram.”

The report suggested that the CIA alerted Indian authorities after intercepting messages between the terrorist and ISIS leadership discussing attacks they were planning. The terrorist was then handed over to the U.S. for the CIA’s investigation, which allegedly gathered a significant amount of information used to eliminate “multiple Islamic State leaders in United States drone strikes.”

Business Insider reported:

Thousands of inmates, including former Islamic State and al-Qaeda fighters, were released from a prison on the outskirts of Kabul — Pul-e-Charkhi — as well as another facility at Bagram airbase as the Taliban called for a “peaceful transition” of power.

Afghan government troops surrendered Bagram airbase, located north of Kabul, to the Taliban early on Sunday. The base houses Parwan Detention Facility, which had around 5,000 prisoners.

Gen. Austin Miller, the Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 2018 through July of this year warned the Biden administration against withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan, disagreeing with estimates that the Afghan military could hold off the Taliban for 1-3 years, instead claiming the country would fall significantly faster to the Taliban.

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich reported Millers’ remarks he made last week during a classified Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“Miller also said once his recommendation was turned down, it became his job to execute on the withdrawal order – and eventually, decisions like abandoning Bagram were made because of constraints and troop caps imposed by the President’s orders,” Heinrich wrote on Twitter.

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Psaki Invokes Biden’s Dead Son When Confronted on Drone Strike that Killed Afghan Civilians, Including Seven Children (VIDEO)

Psaki Invokes Biden’s Dead Son When Confronted on Drone Strike that Killed Afghan Civilians, Including Seven Children (VIDEO)

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Israel killed Iran’s top nuclear scientist from 1,000 miles away using a remote-controlled sniper machine gun

Late last year, Israeli intelligence agents killed Iran’s top nuclear scientist from 1,000 miles away using a high-powered, remote-controlled sniper machine gun, the New York Times reported over the weekend.

What are the details?

The meticulously planned Nov. 27, 2020, assassination plot of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, considered the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, had been in the works for nearly a year. In fact, the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, had been seeking to kill Fakhrizadeh for more than a decade.

But now that former President Donald Trump appeared to have lost the election and with his successor, President Joe Biden, just weeks from taking office, it was go time, the Times reported. Biden had promised to reverse Trump’s hard-line policies toward Iran and rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with the terror-sponsoring country, which Israel adamantly opposed.

Fakhrizadeh, despite being under constant threat of assassination, opted against using extra protective measures advised by his security team. Instead of being escorted in an armored vehicle, he decided to drive himself and his wife from their vacation home near the Caspian Sea back to their country home in Absard in their black Nissan Teana sedan.

Little did he know that waiting for him in Absard was a hidden remote killing machine, well positioned to take his life. Here’s what happened next, according to the Times:

Iranian agents working for the Mossad had parked a blue Nissan Zamyad pickup truck on the side of the road connecting Absard to the main highway. The spot was on a slight elevation with a view of approaching vehicles. Hidden beneath tarpaulins and decoy construction material in the truck bed was a 7.62-mm sniper machine gun.

Around 1 p.m., the hit team received a signal that Mr. Fakhrizadeh, his wife and a team of armed guards in escort cars were about to leave for Absard, where many of Iran’s elite have second homes and vacation villas.

The assassin, a skilled sniper, took up his position, calibrated the gun sights, cocked the weapon and lightly touched the trigger.

He was nowhere near Absard, however. He was peering into a computer screen at an undisclosed location more than 1,000 miles away. The entire hit squad had already left Iran.

… The machine gun fired a burst of bullets, hitting the front of the car below the windshield. It is not clear if these shots hit Mr. Fakhrizadeh but the car swerved and came to a stop.The shooter adjusted the sights and fired another burst, hitting the windshield at least three times and Mr. Fakhrizadeh at least once in the shoulder. He stepped out of the car and crouched behind the open front door.

According to Iran’s Fars News, three more bullets tore into his spine. He collapsed on the road.

Elsewhere in its report, the Times noted that the gun used to kill Fakhrizadeh, a special model of the Belgian-made FN MAG machine gun, is capable of firing 600 rounds in a minute. The nuclear weapons scientist didn’t stand a chance.

What else?

The assault was a major victory for Israel, as Fakhrizadeh had been on the country’s hit list since 2007.

In 2018, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated the scientist’s name several times during a news conference in which he revealed mounds of evidence allegedly proving that Iran had been lying about its nuclear weapons program.

“Remember that name,” he said. “Fakhrizadeh.”

Yet strangely, in its in-depth write-up of the assassination, the Times seemed to memorialize Fakhrizadeh, speaking of him in a positive light and describing him as a lover of poetry and seaside vacations.

“Despite his prominent position in Iran’s military establishment, Mr. Fakhrizadeh wanted to live a normal life,” the Times reported. “He craved small domestic pleasures: reading Persian poetry, taking his family to the seashore, going for drives in the countryside.”

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Six killed in Russian university shooting, gunman in hospital

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MOSCOW — A student armed with a hunting rifle opened fire at a university in the Russian city of Perm on Monday, killing at least six people and wounding many others, investigators said.

Video shown on news websites showed panicked students leaping from first-floor windows to escape Perm State University, around 1,300 km (800 miles) east of Moscow, landing heavily on the ground before running to safety.

“There were about 60 people in our classroom. We closed the door and barricaded it with chairs,” student Semyon Karyakin told Reuters.

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The gunman was wounded after resisting arrest, and was being treated in hospital, the Investigative Committee law enforcement agency said in a statement.

University spokesperson Natalia Pechishcheva earlier said the shooter had been “liquidated” but later said he was in police custody. Footage from the scene showed his body lying on the ground outside the university building.

The Investigative Committee had initially said eight people had been killed.

The gunman was identified as a student at the university who had obtained the hunting rifle in May, it said.

Local media identified the gunman as an 18-year-old student who had earlier posted a photo of himself on social media, posing with a rifle, helmet and ammunition. That photo could not be independently verified.

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“I’ve thought about this for a long time, it’s been years, and I realized the time had come to do what I dreamt of,” said a posting on a social media account attributed to him that was later taken down.

It indicated that his actions had nothing to do with politics or religion but were motivated by hatred.

Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of guns are available for purchase for hunting, self-defense or sport to those who meet specific requirements.

In May, a lone teenage gunman opened fire at a school in the city of Kazan, killing nine people and wounding many more.

That was Russia’s deadliest school shooting since 2018, when a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people before turning his gun on himself.

Russia raised the minimum age for buying firearms from 18 to 21 after the Kazan shooting, but the new law has yet to come into force. (Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy, Anton Zverev; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber/Tom Balmforth; Editing by Nick Macfie and Kevin Liffey)

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