Two boys who said they were sick of being bullied opened fire in a school, killing a classmate, the object of their hatred, police say. They used one of their father's guns. And they are remorseless.
For the first time, the template of a U.S. campus shooting has been exported to the Indian capital.
The shooting occurred Tuesday afternoon in a private school in Gurgaon, a neighboring suburb of New Delhi.
Police say two boys, both 14 and in the eighth grade, took turns in broad daylight shooting their victim, 14-year-old Abishek Tyagi, sending five bullets through his head, chest, and shoulder.
But there are two major differences between this shooting and the more than 20 campus shootings that have occurred in the United States in the last 10 years: The boys didn't kill themselves, and they were allowed to speak to the media.
"We were completely disgusted with the behavior of Abishek," one of them told the Times of India. "He used to bully us frequently and had also threatened to kill us. So, before he could do that I thought of finishing him. My father had kept his licensed revolver in a TV trolley and it was locked. I took it out and hid it. On Tuesday morning, I smuggled it to school by hiding it in my socks."
Police say he hid it in a bathroom until the end of the day, when he and a friend confronted Tyagi outside a school bus.
"I don't feel we have done anything wrong. He used to behave as a don in the class. We wished to end his 'dadagiri,'" he told the Times, using the Hindi word for bullying.
This afternoon police say they are looking for Azad Yadav, the father of one of the boys and the owner of the gun, to arrest him for alleged reckless handling of his weapon. But he has disappeared.
Gun violence is very rare here, especially in a private school surrounded by upscale communities. The Euro International School, where the shooting occurred, is filled with well-to-do families, and the fathers of both shooters were successful real estate managers.
Gurgaon is a booming satellite town home located just on the outskirts of Delhi. It is marked by high-rises, filled with high-end stores and workers who answer phones for Western companies that have outsourced customer service operations to India.
But in an area quickly becoming rich, gun culture has been spreading. Police say the monthly applications for gun licenses have risen fivefold in recent years. In 2002 the average was two to five licenses per month; today, it is 15 to 20.
"The number of nouveau riche here have been going up and they are fond of keeping expensive arms," police commissioner Mohinder Lal told the Hindustan Times. "We use delay tactics and also try to avoid issuing licenses," but it doesn't work.
The shooting has set off an avalanche of anger, some directed at the parents, some directed at the media, some directed at society — echoing the outrage that follows shootings in the United States.
"All three are victims. The child who died is a victim. The two children who are in custody are also victims. They are all victims to the culture of hate, the culture of intolerance. This is all very indicative of the violence that one is seeing all around … in movies, video games, even in comics," Ameeta Mullah Wall, the principal of New Delhi's Springdales School, told ABC News. "This was a tragedy that was waiting to happen."
Wall believes that there's enough blame to go around and that the focus should be on preventing this type of violence through outreach instead of stringent security. She refuses to use metal detectors or pat downs at her school. Administrators in the Euro International School refuse to as well, but they did have CCTV cameras. They weren't on.
"We had shut down the CCTV cameras after the teachers complained that they could not concentrate on teaching because of them. Now we will review the situation," school chairman Satyavir Yadav told the Times of India.
Police commissioner Lal told reporters that Tyagi and his shooters had been fighting for months and that the school should have done something to prevent the shooting. But the chairman of the school said there'd been only one fight, late last week. "We couldn't anticipate this," Yadav said.
After that fight, the shooters say that's when Tyagi threatened to kill him. They got to him first.
"I heard three sounds and it seemed as if somebody is hitting a table," Tiwary, an eyewitness, told television cameras. "We could have never imagined it to be a pistol shot. The schoolchildren ran towards that side and when we reached the spot we found Abishek lying in a pool of blood."
After the shooting, the two shooters hid in a classroom but were eventually overpowered by administrators and turned over to police.
Some are warning that this type of shooting could become commonplace in India. But Wall believes they can be stopped.
"Schools are looked on as centers of salvation. We need to keep engaged and get into closer and closer relationship with the parents … and form partnerships," she said. "If we have a caring, loving, sharing community, we can at some level prevent these problems from happening."