Gunman kills 5, wounds 2 others in mass shooting at Russian church

DAGESTAN, Russia (CNN and FOX NEWS) — A shooter opened fire at a church in the Northern Caucasus region of southern Russia on Sunday, killing five people and wounding two others, authorities said, according to state media.

The incident took place at a church in Kizlyar in the restive Russian republic of Dagestan.

Police responded, traded fire with the shooter and killed him, the authorities said. Two officers were injured in the gunfight, they said.

The shooting occurred during Maslenitsa, a festival celebrated in Russia that is full of dancing, lots of pancakes and carnival-like festivities.
Russian state news agency Tass spoke to a law enforcement source who said that “the unknown person opened fire on people celebrating Maslenitsa.”

Parishioners were at the church celebrating the end of the Russian festival of Maslenitsa, which marks the start of Lent for Russian Orthodox Christians, according to RT.

An eyewitness to the shooting, Oksana, told RT the gunman targeted people as they were leaving the church, but many took cover inside the building.

“There were a lot of people there, moms with little children, elderly people. I believe God saved us, not allowing the man to get inside the church,” the woman told the news outlet.

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