Eight children and a guard were killed in an attack on a primary school in the Serbian capital Belgrade. A 13-year-old boy, a student of the school, has been arrested.
The suspected shooter has been identified as Kosta Kecmanovic. According to authorities, he opened fire on the Vladislav Ribnikar school in the center of the city this morning.
The suspect had made drawings of the premises beforehand, the police announced at a press conference this afternoon. The 13-year-old would also have made a list of which children he wanted to kill.
The motive for the attack is being investigated. There is a known case of violence between the suspect and a fellow student, the education minister said in response to questions from journalists.
Father was criminally prosecuted
The suspect is still too young for criminal prosecution, reports the Serbian Public Prosecution Service. A case is being made against the arrested father, who would have owned the firearm used. The man is suspected of seriously endangering public safety.
A school security guard who tried to stop the boy was killed. Eight students were killed in the attack. Six children and a teacher were injured. A girl is in critical condition, the teacher and four other children are undergoing surgery in the hospital, according to Serbian media.
The age of the victims is still unknown. In Serbian primary schools, pupils are usually between 6 and 15 years old.
‘I lay down on two friends’
According to witnesses, the boy had walked into the history class and opened fire on the teacher. “He started shooting randomly and had two cartridges in his hand,” a girl told Serbian news channel Nova.rs. “I lay on top of two friends so he would think I was dead.”
Another eyewitness describes how she heard the boy shoot continuously:
All primary schools in the capital have canceled classes for the rest of the day. Three days of mourning have been declared.
Shootings, let alone primary schools, are rare in the country due to strict gun laws. But there are many illegal weapons in circulation after the wars the country was involved in in the 1990s. Serbia is in the top 3 of countries with the most firearms per capita, reports news channel N1.