St. Petersburg Bombing Suspect Identified; Death Toll Is At 14
Russian investigators believe a man from Kyrgyzstan who may have played a role in Monday's explosion on a St. Petersburg subway train died in the attack. Officials also say the death toll of 14 people could have been far worse: A second, unexploded device was found at a different metro stop.
Investigators believe "the explosive device may have been set off by a man whose remains were found in the third car of the train," says the Russian Investigative Committee, which is leading the inquiry. "His identity is not being disclosed in the interests of the investigation."
That news is a new twist in accounts of the attack; some witnesses had reportedly told police they saw a man leave a bag or suitcase in the train car as he exited the train. While the federal officials did not provide further details, other reports have identified a chief suspect as a native of Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia, who had received Russian citizenship, according to state-run news outlet TASS.
"Today, Kyrgyz intelligence confirmed it is cooperating in the investigation and identified a possible suspect as 22-year-old Akbarzhon Jalilov," Charles Maynes reports from Moscow.
Investigators are still reviewing security camera and other footage that might have caught anyone involved in the attack, says the Russian Investigative Committee.
The blast struck around 2:40 p.m., on a train that was traveling between St. Petersburg's Sennaya Square and the Technological Institute station. The train's driver "made a right decision not to stop the train and took it to the next station so that passengers could evacuate and the injured could be helped," said spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko of the Russian Investigative Committee.
Another worker in St. Petersburg's metro system is also being praised, for spotting a suspicious bag that turned out to contain a shrapnel-laden bomb in the station at Vosstaniya Square. That metro inspector contacted bomb experts and led people away from the area, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said Tuesday.
Once that deadly package at Vosstaniya Square was identified, police asked the federal FSB to cut off all cellphone service in the area, according to news outlet RBC. The request was made in case the bomb was designed to be triggered by a phone call; service was shut down for around 30 minutes, RBC reports.
The attack was apparently timed to coincide with a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was in town for a pro-Kremlin media forum in St. Petersburg, his home town.
Noting that police had issued a warrant for a bearded man seen at or near the station who was dressed in a style typical of Russia's Muslim-majority North Caucasus region, Maynes says that man went to police to tell them he wasn't involved in the attack.
Three days of official mourning have now begun in the city.