Eight killed in second Serbia mass shooting, suspect arrested

Police arrested a suspect on Friday after eight people were killed and 14 wounded in Serbia’s second mass shooting in two days in what President Aleksandar Vucic called a “terrorist attack” as the government approved tough new gun controls.

The Balkan country was already reeling from a mass shooting on Wednesday when authorities say a 13-year-old boy shot dead nine and wounded seven at a school in Belgrade before turning himself in.

Serbs had just begun three days of mourning on Friday for those victims as news broke of the second shooting, which authorities said began late on Thursday in the village of Dubona, 42 km (26 miles) south of Belgrade.

“This is terrible for our country, this is a huge defeat. In two days so many … killed,” said village resident Ivan.

State broadcaster RTS said the suspect, a young man, had been involved in an altercation in a schoolyard. He left and then returned with an assault rifle and a handgun, opened fire, and continued to shoot at people at random from a moving car.

The suspect also fired at people in two other nearby villages before fleeing, authorities said. Police found him eventually hiding in his grandfather’s house, where they also discovered hand grenades, an automatic rifle, and ammunition.

“The suspect U.B., born in 2002, has been apprehended in the vicinity of the city of Kragujevac, he is suspected of killing eight people and wounding 14 overnight,” Serbia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement. An investigation was ongoing.

Police also arrested the suspect’s grandfather and uncle.

Serbian Health Minister Danica Grujicic said many of the wounded had suffered multiple injuries and had undergone surgery, but she added that all were in stable condition.

In a sombre national address, President Vucic, wearing a dark suit, said the gunman had been wearing a T-shirt with neo-Nazi symbols. He gave no further details about the shootings.

Vucic proposed a moratorium on gun permits regardless of weapon type, in what he called a “practical disarmament” of Serbia that would also include more frequent, mandatory medical and psychological checks of gun owners.

The government would also hire 1,200 new police officers to improve security in schools, said Vucic.

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