A 'Complete Tragedy' in Serbia Leaves 9 Dead

8 children, security guard dead after teen allegedly opens fire in Belgrade with dad's gun
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2023 7:26 AM CDT
Rare Mass Shooting in Serbia Kills 9 at School
Family members wait outside the Vladislav Ribnikar school in Belgrade, Serbia, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo)

School shootings have become a sad new reality in America, but now, news of a deadly one has arrived from overseas. Officials in the Serbian capital of Belgrade report that eight children are dead, as is a security guard, after a seventh-grader opened fire at his own school, per CNN. The nation's Ministry of Internal Affairs says that six other students and a teacher were injured and sent to the hospital following the Wednesday morning attack. One of the wounded is said to be a female student with life-threatening injuries, per CNN affiliate N1.

The suspected gunman, 14, was arrested in the yard of the Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School, in the upscale Vracar neighborhood of Belgrade, the ministry notes. Local media showed footage purporting to show the suspect being led away in cuffs, his head under a jacket, per the BBC. The teen is believed to have carried out the shooting, which took place around 8:40am local time, with his father's gun, according to the ministry. "I saw kids running out from the school, screaming," one student who survived the shooting tells broadcaster RTS. "Parents came, they were in [a] panic."

The father of another student tells N1 that his daughter said the gunman "first shot the teacher and then ... started shooting randomly." The BBC and NBC News note that mass shootings in Serbia, and in the Balkan region in general, are "extremely rare;" the AP reports that this is Serbia's first mass shooting since 2013. "I really don't know what to say," Serbian politician Miodrag Gavrilovic tweeted after the shooting. "This is a complete tragedy of a society. Aggression and violence is at every turn." A motive hasn't yet been announced, and the ministry says an investigation is ongoing. (More Serbia stories.)

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