Several hundred students gathered on Friday to mourn the victims of a mass shooting that left 13 people dead at a university in the capital of Azerbaijan.


The students laid flowers and lit candles outside the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, where a gunman went on a shooting spree Thursday before killing himself.

The massacre stunned the small mainly Muslim country, which had never before seen the kind of public shooting rampages that have plagued some Western countries in recent years.

\’In shock\’

“I came here to remember those students and teachers who died,” said Rakhman Badanov, a student from Baku State University.

“We are all in shock because of this tragedy. This could have happened to any of us, at any of our schools,” he said.

Police said 29-year-old Farda Gadirov entered the building shortly after morning lectures began and methodically shot his victims with a semi-automatic Makarov pistol as he climbed stairs to the sixth floor. He shot himself after the building was surrounded by police.

Press reports have described Gadirov as an unemployed loner, but the motive behind the killings remains unclear.

No word on injured students

The health ministry said 13 people were injured in the attack, some critically. Among the injured were three two Sudanese and one Syrian. There was no new information on the condition of the wounded Friday.

Founded in 1920, the academy is considered a leading international institute for training oil industry specialists and is among the more prestigious universities in the former Soviet Union.

Since gaining independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has become a regional hub for oil and gas production and export.

Western companies, in particular Britain\’s BP, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the country\’s oil and gas industries.