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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Orphanage Closed After Rampage

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The troubled Kazakh teenagers told police they had just wanted to scare their orphanage wardens in retaliation for not being allowed to listen to music. Instead, their stunt turned into a bloodbath that left four workers and two orphans dead and stunned the nation.

Two of the orphanage workers were buried in a Russian Orthodox cemetery on Thursday after Wednesday's rampage in the northern city of Pavlodar. The orphanage itself was shuttered, its 144 remaining wards transferred to other facilities.

Three boys, two of them 16 and one 17, were arrested in a forested area nearby, suspected of axing or knifing to death a security guard, a nurse, two assistant instructors and two 16-year-old orphans.

In hours of pained testimony to police, the boys insisted they hadn't intended to kill anyone, Pavlodar police chief Dulat Taigambayev and police spokeswoman Nina Tsys said Thursday. They said they had just wanted to scare one of their overseers, who had not allowed them to listen to music or wander freely around the compound.

They gathered in a bathroom to plan their stunt, bringing a kitchen ax and two kitchen knives, Tsys said. But another child caught them and started to scream. They hit him on the head, and other orphans and workers showed up to investigate.

Scared by the commotion, the boys said, they tried to kill the witnesses.

Orphanage workers told a different story. In their testimony to police, they said the boys had been drinking vodka and started fighting among themselves, according to Tsys.

The argument turned into a knife-fight, and they ended up killing workers who tried to stop them, orphanage workers said.

Tsys said an empty bottle of vodka was found in the room where much of the violence occurred.

A seventh victim, 16-year-old Anatoliya Bykova, was taken to the hospital with multiple knife wounds.

Arriving at the scene Wednesday, officials found a note that said: "We killed seven people. There are three of us," according to police.

Officials said they also found messages written on the orphanage walls in blood.

The attack shocked the country, leading news reports nationwide Thursday and prompting widespread debate over the state of Kazakhstan's underfunded, marginalized orphanage system.

Several of the children living in the dilapidated facility had psychological problems, officials said. Many Kazakh orphanages, however, lack qualified medical personnel to deal with such problems.