Boy shoots dead 9 people in classroom in Serbia’s Belgrade

Published May 3, 2023
Police officers secure the area after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on other students and security guards at a school in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, May 3, 2023. — Reuters
Police officers secure the area after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on other students and security guards at a school in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, May 3, 2023. — Reuters

A 14-year-old boy shot his teacher in a Belgrade classroom on Wednesday morning before opening fire on other students and security guards, killing eight pupils and a security guard, Serbia’s interior ministry said.

Police officers escort a minor, a seventh-grade student who is suspected of firing several shots at a school in the capital Belgrade on May 3, 2023.— AFP
Police officers escort a minor, a seventh-grade student who is suspected of firing several shots at a school in the capital Belgrade on May 3, 2023.— AFP

Milan Milosevic, the father of one of the pupils at the Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school, said his daughter was in the class where the gun was fired.

“She managed to escape. (The boy) … first shot the teacher and then he started shooting randomly,” Milosevic told broadcaster N1.

A parent cries following a shooting at a school in the capital Belgrade on May 3, 2023.— AFP
A parent cries following a shooting at a school in the capital Belgrade on May 3, 2023.— AFP

Milan Nedeljkovic, mayor of the central Vracar district where the school is located, said doctors were fighting to save the teacher’s life.

A parent escorts her child following a shooting at a school in the capital Belgrade on May 3, 2023.— AFP
A parent escorts her child following a shooting at a school in the capital Belgrade on May 3, 2023.— AFP

The interior ministry statement said eight children and a security guard had been killed and six children had been hospitalised along with the teacher.

Police said a seventh-grade student had been arrested.

“I saw the security guard lying under the table. I saw two girls with blood on their shirts. They say he (the shooter) was quiet and a good pupil. He recently joined their class,” added Milosevic, who had rushed to the school after the shooting.

Police officers secure the area after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on other students and security guards at a school in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, May 3, 2023. — Reuters
Police officers secure the area after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on other students and security guards at a school in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, May 3, 2023. — Reuters

Officers in helmets and bulletproof vests cordoned off the area around the school.

“I saw kids running out from the school, screaming. Parents came, they were in panic. Later I heard three shots,” a girl who attends a high school adjacent to Vladislav Ribnikar told state TV Radio Television of Serbia (RTS).

Casualties are being treated and an investigation into the motives behind shooting is under way, police said in a statement.

People react after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on other students and security guards at a school in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, May 3, 2023. —Reuters
People react after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on other students and security guards at a school in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, May 3, 2023. —Reuters

Mass shootings are comparatively rare in Serbia, which has very strict gun laws. But the western Balkans are awash with hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons following wars and unrest in the 1990s.

Serbian authorities have issued several amnesties for owners to hand in or register illegal guns.

Other mass killings of children around the world

Nashville, Tennessee, March 27, 2023 — A heavily armed 28-year-old fatally shoots three children and three adult staffers at a private Christian school, before police kill the assailant.

Na Klang, Thailand, Oct. 6, 2022 — A former policeman kills 34 people, including 23 children, during a knife and gun rampage at a daycare centre in northeast Thailand, before shooting dead his wife and child at home and turning his weapon on himself.

Uvalde, Texas, May 24, 2022 — A gunman burst into a classroom in Uvalde, Texas, and shot dead 19 students, aged 9 to 11, along with two teachers.

Kabul, Afghanistan, May 8, 2021 — Three explosions by a school in Kabul killed at least 80 people, most of them schoolgirls.

Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018 — A 17-year-old student opened fire at his high school outside Houston, Texas, killing nine students and a teacher, before surrendering to officers.

Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 2018 — A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 14 students and three educators.

Peshawar — Dec. 16, 2014 — Taliban gunmen massacred 134 students and 16 staff in a Peshawar school.

Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2012 — A heavily armed gunman killed 20 children from five- to 10-years old and six others, in a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Utoeya Island, Norway, July 22, 2011 — Far-right Norwegian extremist Anders Behring Breivik gunned down 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya island and killed another eight people with a car bomb in Oslo.

Beslan, Russia, Sept. 1, 2004 — 186 children were among 333 hostages who died in a chaotic storming of School No.1 in Beslan, after it was seized by rebels demanding Chechen independence.

Littleton, Colorado, April 20, 1999 — Two student gunmen killed 12 other students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves.

Dunblane, Scotland, March 13, 1996 — A gunman killed 16 children, mostly five-year-olds, and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland.

Opinion

Editorial

ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...
More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...