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Profile: Suspected Baku Gunman Identified As Georgian Citizen


Students at the scene of the April 30 rampage on the campus of the State Oil Academy in Baku

Students at the scene of the April 30 rampage on the campus of the State Oil Academy in Baku

The suspected gunman who is thought to have killed at least 13 people and wounded 13 others in a rampage at a prestigious Azerbaijani university early on April 30 has been identified as Farda Gadirov, a 29-year-old ethnic Azeri from neighboring Georgia.

Officials said Gadirov was not affiliated with the State Oil Academy, where the gunman opened fire shortly after classes began, and the motive for the shootings remained unclear.

Gadirov died at the scene, although there were conflicting reports about whether he committed suicide or was killed by police.

'Everything Was Normal'

Residents of Gadirov's hometown of Dashtapa were shocked at reports suggesting that the perpetrator of the Baku shooting rampage was one of their own.

Vidadi Hasanov, the mayor of nearby Kulari, in Georgia's Marneuli district, told RFE/RL'a Georgian Service that "no one here had any sense that he was in any particularly agitated state, and now we are all glued to our televisions and are extremely upset by what we are seeing."

Hasanov told RFE/RL that Gadirov, his parents, and his brother left the village some 15 years ago and settled in the Russian town of Podolsk, outside of Moscow.

About a month ago, locals say Gadirov returned to Dashtapa. After spending some time there, he set out for Baku, reportedly to find work.

"We didn't expect anything like this from him, because this was really an educated, normal young man who was respected in the village among young and old alike," Hasanov said. "Everything was normal. We can't understand how this happened."

Gadirov's father is a former Azeri-language teacher and his mother a longtime homemaker, Hasanov said, but now they sell fruit and vegetables at a market in Podolsk. The mayor added that the family is well-liked and respected.

Maximizing Deaths

According to Azerbaijani officials, 13 people were killed and 13 injured in the shooting rampage.

The suspect was said to have been armed with a Makarov automatic pistol and carrying large quantities of ammunition.

He reportedly rampaged through the building, shooting randomly at everyone he met. One eyewitness told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service the gunman shot some of the victims in the head at close range after wounding them to ensure they were killed.

Ali Hasanov, an aide to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, told journalists there is no reason to consider this anything other than a "criminal act."

RFE/RL Georgian Service correspondent Jimsher Rekhviashvili and RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service contributed to this report
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