On Wednesday, a teenage boy shot and killed eight children and a school guard at a primary school in Belgrade, Serbia. Additionally, six more children and a teacher were hospitalized with injuries. The shooter, identified by police as K.K., used his father’s gun during the attack and was arrested in the schoolyard. He was a student at the Vladislav Ribnikar primary school and was born in 2009.
The police were alerted to the shooting at around 8:40 a.m. A student who was in a sports class downstairs at the time of the attack said they heard non-stop gunfire and received updates via their phone. Mass shootings in Serbia and the wider Balkan region are uncommon, especially at schools, with the last one happening in 2013, where a Balkan war veteran killed 13 people in a central Serbian village.
Experts have repeatedly warned of the danger posed by the significant number of weapons remaining in the country after the conflicts of the 1990s. They also highlight the decades-long instability and ongoing economic hardship as potential triggers for violent outbursts.
Local media footage from the scene showed commotion outside the school as police removed the suspect, whose head was covered as officers led him to a car parked in the street.
The student who heard the shooting, who was identified only by her initials, E.M., because of her age, described the suspect as a “quiet guy” who “looked nice.”
“He was having good grades, but we didn’t know much about him,” the student added. “He was not so open with everybody. Surely i wasn’t expecting this to happen. ”
Milan Milosevic, who said his daughter was in a history class when the shooting took place, told N1 television that he rushed out when he heard what had happened.
“I asked where is my child but no one could tell me anything at first,” he said. “Then she called and we found out she was out.”
“He (the shooter) fired first at the teacher and then the children who ducked under the desks,” Milosevic quoted his daughter as saying. “She said he was a quiet boy and a good student.”
Police sealed off the blocks around the school, in the center of Belgrade.