8 students, guard killed in Serbia school shooting, teen arrested

This is a rare and unprecedented event in a country with strict firearms laws

SERBIA-SHOOTING/ People light candles near the building, following a school mass shooting, after a boy opened fire on others, killing fellow students and staff in Belgrade, Serbia, May 3, 2023 | Reuters

A 14-year-old boy opened fire in a Belgrade school after lessons began on Wednesday morning killing eight children and a security guard. Several others were injured. The boy, who sketched out the attack in advance, called the police himself.

This is a rare and unprecedented event in a country with strict firearms laws. Yet, gun ownership numbers are high. The event took place at Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School, a well-known institution in Vracar, an upscale area in Belgrade. The shooting occurred soon after classes began. 

The shooter first killed a guard at the school in central Belgrade and then three students in a hallway, according to senior police official Veselin Milic. He then entered a history classroom apparently choosing it simply because it was close to the entrance and opened fire again, Milic said. 

Milan Milosevic, the father of one of the pupils at the Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school, told Reuters his daughter was in the class where the gun was fired.

"She managed to escape. (The boy) ...first shot the teacher and then he started shooting randomly," Milosevic said.

Six children and a teacher have been hospitalised. The police said the shooter was reportedly a quiet pupil. According to the police, the pupil identified as Kosta Kecmanovic, carried two guns belonging to his father. Mass shootings are a rare occurrence in Serbia. Experts, however, have warned of the danger posed by the large number of weapons in the country, especially following wars and unrest in the 1990s. 

--With PTI inputs

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