According to authorities, a shooter who appeared to be firing randomly in three Serbian towns m*rdered eight people and injured 14, shocking a country still reeling from a fatal shooting a day earlier. Following a nightlong manhunt, police arrested on Friday.
Aleksandar Vucic, the president of Serbia, described the shooting on Thursday as an assault on the entire country. He claimed the detained person was sporting a T-shirt bearing a pro-Nazi message.
In a speech, Vucic promised the country that the suspect “will never again see the light of day.” He described the attack as a terrorist act and unveiled a new set of gun control regulations, including a ban on new gun licenses and increased police officers.
Vucic declared, “We will disarm Serbia,” adding that the administration would lay out the new guidelines later on Friday.
The day before, a 13-year-old kid was shot and ki!!ed eight other students and a security officer at a school in Belgrade, the country’s capital.
The violence shocked the region, a Balkan nation ravaged by wars but unused to mass m*rders. The shooting on Wednesday was the first at a school in Serbia’s modern history, even though the country is awash in weaponry from the 1990s wars.
Before last week, there hadn’t been a mass shooting since 2013, when a war veteran massacred 13 people in a hamlet in the middle of Serbia.
According to authorities, a shooter opened fire late Thursday night in three villages close to Mladenovac, about 30 miles south of the capital. Vucic claimed that the attacker went for victims “wherever they were.”
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A resident of Dubona, near Mladenovac, Milan Prokic, recalled, “I heard some tak-tak-tak sounds.” According to Prokic, he initially believed that people were shooting to commemorate a birth, as is customary in Serbia.
“But it wasn’t that. Shame, great shame,” Prokic added.
A suspect with the initials U.B. was reportedly detained roughly 60 miles south of Belgrade, close to Kragujevac in central Serbia.
According to Agence France-Presse, according to state-run RTS television, the suspect was found with four hand grenades, a sizable collection of illicit weapons, and ammunition. He was firing from a moving car, according to RTS.
A young man wearing a blue T-shirt with the slogan “Generation 88” was depicted in a photo of the suspect in a police cruiser published by the authorities.
Since the letter H is the eighth in the alphabet, “Heil Hitler” can be said with the double eights as a shortcut.
Before the second shooting, Serbia had a problematic Thursday. As they paid solemn homage to their fallen classmates, students flooded the streets surrounding the school in central Belgrade, many bearing flowers and dressed all in black.
Serbian teachers’ organizations organized protests and strikes to draw attention to a problem in the educational system and demand improvements.
The Wednesday shooting at the Vladislav Ribnikar school also hospitalized six pupils and a teacher. According to physicians, a child with spinal injuries is in serious condition and a girl shot in the head is still in a life-threatening state.
Kosta Kecmanovic has been named the gunman by the authorities, claiming he is too young to be charged and put on trial. His father has been held on suspicion of harming public security, and he has been admitted to a mental health facility.
In Serbia and the rest of the Balkans, owning a gun is commonplace; Serbia has one of the highest per-capita firearm populations in the world. Additionally, at local festivals, weapons are frequently discharged into the air.
In Serbia, a deeply divided nation where war criminals are regularly celebrated and violence against minority groups frequently goes unpunished, experts have repeatedly expressed concern about the threat presented by the large number of guns in the country.
They also point out that persistent economic hardship and decades of instability brought on by the events of the 1990s could lead to such outbursts.
Dragan Popadic, a psychology professor at Belgrade University, told The Associated Press that the school shooting had exposed violence in society and caused a profound shock.
“People suddenly have been shaken into reality and the ocean of violence that we live in, how it has grown over time and how much our society has been neglected for decades,” he warned. “It is as if flashlights have been lit over our lives and we can no longer just mind our own business.”
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