Eight killed in a second mass shooting in Serbia; police searching for the shooter

Security personnel operate, in the aftermath of a shooting, in Dubona, Serbia, May 5, 2023. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Local media reported that a gunman was on the loose on Friday after killing eight people and wounding thirteen others near Belgrade, the second fatal mass shooting in the vicinity of the Serbian capital in two days.

Police stationed heavily armed roadblocks near Mladenovac, 42 kilometers (26 miles) south of Belgrade, in pursuit of a suspect aged 21.

The incident occurred less than 48 hours after a 13-year-old shot, killed nine people, and injured seven others at a Belgrade school before turning himself in.

Interior Ministry officials could not be reached for comment immediately.

According to local media, the suspect was involved in an altercation in a schoolyard on Thursday night, after which he fled but later returned with an assault rifle and a handgun. From a moving car, he opened fire and proceeded to shoot at random throughout three villages.

RTS reported that an off-duty police officer and his sister were slain.

RTS reported that approximately 600 Serbian police, including the elite Special Antiterrorist Unit (SAJ) and Gendarmerie, launched Operation Whirlwind, a manhunt.

A Reuters witness in the village of Dubona near Mladenovac observed heavily armed police establishing a checkpoint and inspecting incoming vehicles. Police SUVs and trailers with armored plating circled the area.

Danijela, a middle-aged woman from Dubona, remarked, "This is sad, as the police officer is the same age as my 1998-born daughter." "My daughter is taking sedatives, we could not sleep all night, and they grew up together."

Pink TV in Belgrade said the wounded were transported to multiple local institutions.

Multiple police patrols, a helicopter, and unmanned aerial vehicles searched for the suspect in the undulating hills and villages surrounding Dubona, combing through abandoned homes and dense forests.

This is a catastrophic loss for our state. Ivan, a resident of Dubona, remarked, "So many were killed in two days."

Nation in Mourning

Friday marks the beginning of three days of official mourning in the Balkan nation following the nation's first school attack on Wednesday.

The suspect used two of his father's handguns to murder eight students and a security officer in a hallway and history class at their school in Belgrade's capital.

Thursday evening, hundreds of schoolchildren with candles and flowers congregated in the streets surrounding the school for a vigil while churches planned memorial services.

Thursday, dozens of high school teachers demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Education in downtown Belgrade, demanding reforms to school safety and the education system.

Serbia has a pervasive firearms culture and stringent gun control laws, particularly in rural areas. Over the years, authorities have offered several amnesties to those who surrender their automatic weapons.

After the school murder in Belgrade, the Serbian government implemented a two-year ban on issuing new gun permits, reviewing existing permits, and inspecting how gun owners store their weapons.

Nonetheless, the country and the rest of the Western Balkans are awash in military-grade firearms and ammunition that remained private after the 1990s wars.

Publish : 2023-05-05 10:51:00

Give Your Comments