BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Gunmen killed eight people and wounded 14 in three Serbian villages, authorities and media reported, leaving a country still mourning the shootings a day ago. I was shaken. Police arrested the suspect Friday after an all-night search.
The second shooting occurred on Thursday, a day after a 13-year-old boy used his father’s gun to kill eight classmates and a security guard at a school in the capital Belgrade.
The bloodshed sent shockwaves through the war-torn Balkans, but they were no stranger to genocide. Serbia is rife with weapons left over from her 1990s wars, but Wednesday’s shooting was the first in the country’s modern history.
The last mass shooting before this week was in 2013, when veterans killed 13 people in a village in central Serbia.
Late Thursday, attackers shot people in three villages near Mladenovac, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital, state broadcaster RTS said.
“I heard a tac-tac-tac,” recalled Milan Plokic, who lives in Dubona near Mladenovac. Prokic said at first he thought people were shooting guns to celebrate births, like a Serbian tradition.
“But it wasn’t. It’s a shame, very disappointing,” Plocic added.
Police said the suspect, identified by the initials UB, was arrested near the central Serbian town of Kragujevac, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Belgrade.
Authorities have released a photo of the suspect in a police car. It showed a young man in a blue T-shirt with an inscription and a map of part of Europe.
Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic called the shooting an “act of terrorism”, according to state media.
Serbia staggered much of Thursday before the second shot. In the streets around the school in central Belgrade, dozens of students dressed in black and holding flowers offered a moment of silence for their slain classmate. The Serbian teachers’ union has announced protests and strikes, warning of a crisis in the school system and demanding change.
On the same day, authorities moved to tighten gun controls, with police urging citizens to lock their guns and keep them away from children. He ordered harsher punishments to be imposed on those who made it possible to obtain the
Under current law, gun owners registered in Serbia must be over the age of 18, be in good health and have no criminal record. Weapons must be locked separately from ammunition.
Seven people were hospitalized, six children and a teacher died in Wednesday’s shooting at a school in Vladislav Rybnicar. A girl shot in her head has a life-threatening condition and a boy has a serious spinal cord injury, doctors said Thursday.
Authorities identified the shooter as Kosta Kekmanović, saying he was too young to be charged and brought to justice. He has been placed in a mental hospital and his father is in custody on suspicion of threatening public safety.
Gun ownership is common in Serbia and other parts of the Balkans. This country has one of the highest number of firearms per capita in the world. Also, guns are often fired into the air at celebrations in the area.
Experts have repeatedly warned of the danger posed by the arms numbers in Serbia, a deeply divided country where convicted war criminals are often glorified and violence against minority groups often goes unpunished. They also note that decades of instability stemming from conflicts in the 1990s and ongoing economic hardships could trigger such an explosion.
Dragan Popadic, a professor of psychology at the University of Belgrade, told The Associated Press that the school shooting exposed the level of violence that exists in society and caused a deep shock.
“People are suddenly swayed by reality, the ocean of violence we live in, how it has grown over time and how our society has been neglected for decades.” It’s like a flashlight has been turned on and I can no longer think only of myself.”
AP journalist Sabina Niksic contributed from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
https://wgnradio.com/news/international/8-fatally-shot-in-serbian-town-day-after-9-killed-at-school/ Gunmen kill eight in Serbia’s second mass shooting in two days. WGN Radio 720