A shooting rampage carried out by a seventh-grade student in Belgrade, Serbia, at Vladislav Ribnikar primary school resulted in the deaths of eight children and a security guard, as reported by Serbian police.
The incident occurred around 8:40 a.m. in the upscale Vracar neighborhood. Belgrade Police Chief Veselin Miljic revealed in a news conference that the student, whose motive remains unknown, had planned the attack for a considerable period. The student entered the school with two pistols and four Molotov cocktails.
Police were alerted to the situation by the school’s vice principal, Ivanka Jovanovic. The perpetrator later contacted authorities to report the shooting and provide the school’s address.
Police apprehended the suspect in the schoolyard, and six children and a teacher were taken to the hospital for injuries sustained in the attack. District Mayor Milan Nedeljkovic confirmed that a security guard was killed while trying to stop the shooter.
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During a state media interview, Nedeljkovic praised the security guard’s efforts to prevent further tragedy and acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the event. The Clinical Center of Serbia’s director, Milika Asanin, stated that three students and a teacher were being treated for gunshot wounds at the facility’s emergency center.
Serbia’s Health Minister Danica Grujicic reported that one student sustained life-threatening injuries, while another student and the teacher were in stable condition. Serbia’s Minister of Education, Branko Ruzic, confirmed three days of official mourning beginning on May 7.
Local TV broadcasts showed numerous emergency vehicles and onlookers at the scene. Photos released by news agencies depicted the student being detained by police, who have not provided a motive for the shooting.
A statement from Serbia’s Ministry of Public Affairs indicated that all police forces were working to uncover the facts surrounding the tragedy.
Gun violence is uncommon in Serbia, although many Serbs keep weapons at home for protection due to the stockpiles remaining from the Balkan wars in the 1990s.
A mass shooting in 2013 resulted in 13 deaths when a 60-year-old man opened fire in a village near Belgrade.
Experts have consistently highlighted the issue of leftover weapons in Serbia following the 1990s wars. They also point out that prolonged instability from these conflicts, combined with ongoing economic struggles, may spark such violent incidents.
Milan Milosevic, whose daughter was in a history class during the shooting, spoke to N1 television about his reaction to the news. He initially couldn’t find any information about his daughter’s whereabouts but eventually received a call from her confirming she was safe.
According to Milosevic’s daughter, the shooter targeted the teacher first before firing at the children who took cover under their desks. She described the shooter as a quiet and well-behaved student.
Police cordoned off the area surrounding the Vladislav Ribnikar school, located in central Belgrade. Serbian primary schools consist of eight grades.