Arrested father of Serbian school shooting suspect denies blame for attack

The father of a 13-year-old boy suspected of killing nine people in a school shooting this week denied on Friday any responsibility for the attack, the High Public Prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The boy also wounded seven people at the school in Belgrade before turning himself in. Although his father was arrested, the boy is below Serbia’s age of criminal responsibility and instead is undergoing a psychiatric assessment.

“During the hearing, the suspect denied committing the crime and presented his defense in detail,” the statement said.

The prosecution said it had charged the father, identified as Vladimir K., with a serious offence against general security for which, if convicted, he could face up to 12 years in jail.

The prosecution also said it would urge the judge handling preliminary proceedings to remand Vladimir K. in custody “to prevent influence on witnesses, a repeat of the offence and because of public anxiety.”

It said the father was suspected of training his son to handle weapons by taking him to target practice “despite the fact that the child is 13 years old and that such an activity was … inappropriate for his age.”

It also said Vladimir K. was suspected of failing to adequately secure weapons and ammunition.

“It is suspected that, as a result of his actions, on May 3, 2023, his son K.K. managed to take into possession” two pistols he later used in the school shooting, it said.

Serbia was reeling on Friday from a second mass shooting in just two days. In the latest incident, which occurred on Thursday evening, a gunman killed eight people and wounded 14 during a shooting spree in three villages south of Belgrade.

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