Serbia hit by second mass shooting day after deadly school attack

At least eight people have been killed, and 14 are wounded after a gunman in a moving car opened fire on passersby in a town south of Belgrade, the second mass shooting in a week in Serbia, where such tragedies are rare.

The drive-by attack late on Thursday came after eight children and a security guard were killed in a mass shooting at a school on Wednesday.Serbia entered an official three-day mourning period on Friday to pay tribute to the victims.

Thursday’s shooting took place near Mladenovac, a town 50km (30 miles) south of the capital Belgrade.

The state-run RTS television said the 21-year-old suspected gunman first opened fire at a schoolyard in the village of Dubona and killed a police officer and his sister, along with others in the area.

The gunman then moved on to the nearby villages of Mali Orasje and Sepsin, according to RTS.

“We heard gunshots in the evening, but I thought it was fireworks, children fooling around. It did not even occur to me that something like this could happen,” Zvonko Mladenovic, a Dubona resident, told the AFP news agency.

The suspect was on the run for hours before police arrested him early Friday, RTS reported.

The police said the man had been arrested near the central city of Kragujevac and about 90km (56 miles) from the scene of the attacks.

According to RTS, the suspect was arrested at the home of a relative and was in possession of four hand grenades and a large number of illegal weapons and ammunition.‘Relief’
Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic called the shooting “a terrorist act”.

Ambulances, special police and helicopter units were sent to the area.

Al Jazeera’s Bojana Stojanovic, reporting near Mladenovac, said the heavy police presence eased after the suspect was arrested.

“People felt relief after news of the arrest,” she said.

“We are all in a state of shock, people have still not captured their emotions after the school tragedy.

“Everyone is a bit more silent than they were. The loudest thing we can hear is shock. These things never happened in Serbia before, not in this measure.”

State of mourning
Serbia is reeling from Wednesday’s shooting rampage at the Vladislav Ribnikar primary school in central Belgrade, in which a 13-year-old boy used his father’s guns.

One of the victims, a child, was a French citizen, France’s foreign ministry said.

Earlier on Thursday, dozens of students, many wearing black, paid their respects.

People cried and hugged outside the school, still cordoned off by police, as they stood in front of heaps of flowers, small teddy bears and footballs.

The Balkans is among the top regions in Europe in the number of guns per capita and Serbia is awash with weapons left over from the wars of the 1990s.

Still, the country has strict gun laws and mass shootings are rare — the last was in 2013 when a war veteran killed 13 people in a central Serbian village.

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