June 13, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Among the eight students killed was a young French woman, as far as we know

Among the eight students killed was a young French woman, as far as we know

What happened

According to the police chief in the Serbian capital, the suspect arrived at the school with a 9 mm pistol, another small caliber and four Molotov cocktails in his backpack.

He opened fire as he entered the school, killing first a security guard and three students nearby in the corridor, before entering a “history class”. “As soon as he walked through the door, he shot the teacher and other students,” Belgrade police chief Veselin Milik said.

Two minutes later, before the assailant called the police, the school’s vice-principal informed the police. Shortly after the shooting, she was cordoned off around the school, where several ambulances converged to attend to the injured, under the watchful eyes of anxious parents waiting for their children nearby.

Astrid Merlini, whose daughter was at the school, teachers moved quickly to cover the children. “When (my daughter) saw the guard fall, she rushed back to her class. She was scared. She told the teacher that there was a shooting upstairs,” said Astrid Merlini. “The teacher immediately locked the children in the classroom and took them to safety”.

A short time later, the young man was arrested at the school and taken to a psychiatric hospital. Earlier, the prosecution said that due to his age, he could not answer in court.

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9 people died including a French student

At least eight children and elementary school Vladislav Ribnikar in Vracar (center of Belgrade) were shot dead, and six children and a teacher were injured and hospitalized. The children killed were seven girls and one boy born in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Veselin Milik said during a press conference. Two children and the teacher were seriously injured and their lives are in danger, according to Health Minister Danica Krujic.

A press release from the Quai d’Orsay this Wednesday afternoon mourns the death of a young woman of French nationality. “We learned about the shooting with great emotion […] It resulted in a large number of victims among students and teachers, including a student of French nationality. “Our services and our embassy in Belgrade are mobilized to offer all support to the family of our young comrade in this ordeal”, underlined the Quai d’Orsay, which also sends its “deepest condolences” to the families of those killed.

Lover of Arms

The suspect’s parents have been arrested, according to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who addressed the nation in the evening. His father, a doctor and a used gun owner, has recently taken his son to the shooting range several times. “The father says the weapons were locked in a safe with a code, but apparently the child had the code, because he was able to take the pistols and three magazines with fifteen bullets each,” Interior Minister Bratislav Kecic explained earlier in the day.

During his press conference, the Serbian president said the boy, one of the best students at his school, told investigators that “nobody wants to accept him.” […] Then he decided to commit this horrible act.

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Premeditated murder

The tragedy came as a shock to Serbia, where school shootings are extremely rare.

According to Milan Nedeljkovic, head of the Vracar municipality, the goalkeeper “wanted to prevent this tragedy and he died.” […] The tragedy would have been worse if this man had not been standing in front of the boy who was shooting.

A Serbian police official said the teenager had a detailed plan for the murder and a list of targeted children. He “planned a shooting spree for a month, making a list of the children he planned to kill,” Veselin Milik said. “The sketch looks like something from a video game or a horror movie, which means he planned (the murder) in detail,” he added, adding that the plans were found on one of the suspect’s desks.