An 18-year-old Russian soldier suspected of waging a deadly attack against an Armenian family, killing every member except a 6-month-old baby, has reportedly confessed to the crime after being detained near the Turkish border.
"[Valery] Permyakov, the suspect in the killing of six members of the Avetisyan family in Gyumri, confessed his guilt. He said that he left his military base to take a walk through the city and accidentally wound up in the Avetisyans' home," Unan Pogosyan, deputy head of the local police department, said in comments carried by state news agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
It remains unclear what motivated the killings, but Permyakov said he entered the family's home because he wanted something to drink, the report said.
Permyakov is suspected of killing six members of the family, which lived near a Russian military base in the Armenian city of Gyumri, including a 2-year-old child. The 6-month-old baby, who miraculously survived the attack, remains in critical condition in a nearby hospital.
The Kommersant newspaper reported that Permyakov first shot and killed the 53-year-old father before shooting the remaining family members while they slept. He reportedly stabbed the 2-year-old with a bayonet.
The incident seems to have caused some alarm among top officials in the Defense Ministry, which is setting up a commission to investigate the case that will be headed by Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin, state news agency TASS reported.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported that Permyakov previously suffered from an undisclosed mental illness, though acquaintances of the suspect who were interviewed by Armenian media expressed shock at the heinous crime and said the young soldier could not have committed it.