Serbian Police reported that the 13-year-old perpetrator of the school shooting in Serbia had carefully planned the attack, creating sketches of the classrooms and a list of specific students he intended to target. He proceeded to carry out the plan, resulting in the deaths of eight students and a security guard. The shooter then contacted the authorities himself and was subsequently taken into custody.
While Serbia has a surplus of firearms remaining from the conflicts of the 1990s, instances of mass shootings are highly uncommon in the Balkan region, and no such incidents have been recorded at schools in Serbia in recent times.
As reported by Veselin Milic, a high-ranking police official, the shooter initially killed a school guard and three students in a hallway of the Vladislav Ribnikar school in central Belgrade. He then proceeded to enter a nearby history classroom where he continued firing, resulting in the deaths of seven girls and one boy. Among the victims was a female student who held French nationality, according to a statement from French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre, who did not provide further information.
Additionally, six children and one teacher were taken to the hospital. Following surgeries that lasted several hours, doctors revealed that two of the children were in critical condition.
After concluding the shooting, the perpetrator contacted the police on his own. A notification reporting the incident had also been made to authorities two minutes prior.
A 13-year-old student named Kosta Kecmanovic, who attended the Vladislav Ribnikar school, was identified by the police as the shooter in a recent incident. However, he cannot be charged with criminal offenses due to his age being under 14, according to the Belgrade prosecutor’s office. The decision on his fate will be made by social services.
The shooter was found to have been carrying at least one handgun, along with another gun and four Molotov cocktails, which belonged to his father. The weapons were licensed and kept in a secure place, but the teenager appears to have known the code to access them. The shooter’s father has also been arrested, but no charges have been filed yet.
Although it is unclear how many rounds were fired, the shooter was seen reloading the handgun during the incident, as per the police report.
The unusual nature of these violent acts amplified the sense of disbelief and horror among the populace. Commentators on television and government representatives alike expressed that such incidents were typically associated with other countries, particularly the United States. Prior to this event, the most recent instance of a mass shooting in the Balkan region occurred in 2013 when a war veteran in Serbia killed 13 individuals, including family members and neighbors, in a rural village.
Beginning on Friday, officials announced a three-day period of national mourning, during which individuals placed flowers and candles outside the school in remembrance of the victims. President Aleksandar Vucic, speaking to the country with a heavy heart and shedding tears at times, declared the day as one of the most difficult in modern Serbian history. He lamented the tragic incident and remarked on the unity felt throughout the nation as they mourned together.