A ransom-seeker who took 56 children hostage at a kindergarten Tuesday responded to a rescue attempt by hurling two grenades. Three of the children died, and three were injured.
Blood, broken toys and smashed wood covered the floor of the No. 4 Kindergarten in Vladikavkaz, a city in southern Russia’s North Caucasus region that has seen a string of recent hostage-takings.
Yuri Kardanov, 31, a tram and trolley depot worker, walked into the red brick building at midday, carrying two grenades, officials said.
He demanded money and asked that a bus be brought to the kindergarten, where he held the children and several school employees, Russian news agencies reported.
Police passed in a two-way radio for negotiations. Kardanov made a kindergarten worker hold the radio for him, while he clutched both grenades, with the pins pulled out.
While he talked to police, other officers managed to rescue nine children, pulling them through a window in another room.
There were conflicting reports on what happened next.
The ITAR-Tass news agency said Kardanov burst into the room where the children were being rescued, and threw both grenades, apparently to keep the children from escaping.
But Interior Ministry officials said the man threw the grenades only because his hands had tired, and he could no longer keep the grenades from detonating.
The explosions killed three children, ages 4 to 6. Three children, two teachers and two police officers were wounded. The attacker had minor injuries, and Interfax reported that doctors were evaluating his mental condition.