Ex-convict shoots five dead at Russia hunting shop

MOSCOW (AFP) - An armed former convict on Monday killed five people, including a 14-year-old girl, in a broad daylight shooting at a hunting shop in the Russian city of Belgorod, police said.

The man killed three salespeople at the shop and two passers-by outside the premises in the southern city close to the border with Ukraine, regional police spokesman Yevgeny Kamalov told AFP from Belgorod.

One other person was wounded in the incident. The assailant fled in a BMW which he then abandoned, Mr Kamalov said.

The Moscow-based Investigative Committee said in a statement that the suspect had been identified, adding the assailant was a resident of Belgorod, had a criminal record and was released from prison in 2012.

The area around the shooting scene has been cordoned off by police.

"Currently, an active search is going on to detain the suspect," regional police said in a statement.

Another regional police spokesman, Alexei Pomorov, said a group of investigators had been dispatched to the city from Moscow to assist with the investigation.

Police refused to speculate about the possible reasons for the shooting.

"We do not know whether it was a conflict because there's no-one we can ask: everyone's dead," Pomorov told AFP.

Unlike in the United States, access to firearms is restricted in Russia and mass shootings are relatively rare.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.