Sadness and dismay in Serbia after school shooting

Sadness and dismay in Serbia after school shooting< /p> UPDATE DAY

Serbia woke up to sadness on Thursday, the day after an unprecedented school shooting in Belgrade in which a thirteen-year-old student killed eight classmates and a guard. 

Classes in all schools in this Balkan country of around 7 million people began with a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the massacre.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who s addressed the nation on Wednesday evening, lamented “one of the most difficult days in the contemporary history” of Serbia.

Three days of national mourning were declared from Friday. Planned celebrations and events will be largely cancelled. The Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Porfirije, called on the faithful to attend a prayer for the victims at the end of the day, which will take place in all the churches of the capital.

“I cried all day yesterday. My son went to this school,” Mileva Milosevic, an 85-year-old retired lawyer who lives near the school where the carnage took place, told AFP.

The Vladislav Ribnikar school, which welcomes students aged 7 to 15, in the Vracar district of central Belgrade, was closed on Thursday. Police were still present at the entrance to the establishment, noted an AFP journalist.

Wednesday morning, a thirteen-year-old student, armed with a 9 mm pistol and several magazines , opened fire there, killing first the school caretaker and three students in the hallways, before going into a classroom where he shot first at a teacher and then at the students.


“The broke youth”

He killed a total of seven girls, including one of French nationality, and a boy, all born between 2009 and 2011, as well as the guard. Six children and their history teacher were injured and hospitalized.

Two students, a boy and a girl, seriously injured, are still in “critical condition”, officials of two schools said Thursday morning. hospitals in Belgrade where the wounded were admitted.

“Youth broke in the course of history”, we read on Thursday on the front page of the daily Vecernje Novosti. “Serbia in shock and in tears,” says the Danas newspaper.

The assailant was arrested shortly after the killings in the schoolyard, where he was awaiting the arrival of police. He himself had called the police to announce what he had just done, said Belgrade police chief Veselin Milic.

“He said he had shot people at school and that he is (…) a psychopath who needs to calm down,” Milic told Serbian national television (RTS).

“In his statement (to the police) at the scene of the crime, he said: + I was waiting for this day. Here are the best circumstances because (…) I can finish everything in one day+”, also told the policeman, specifying that the teenager had drawn up “a list of people who irritated him the most”.

“Priority Targets”

Mr. Ilic said at a press conference on Wednesday that the assailant, who was placed in a psychiatric hospital, had “prepared for the shooting for a month” and that he had made a plan of the school, with the names of the “targets”. priorities”.

The shooter's father, the legal owner of the weapon used, a reputable doctor, was arrested on Wednesday and remanded in custody for 48 hours. His mother had also been arrested.

In this country where some 765,000 weapons, including more than 232,000 pistols, are legally registered, the Interior Ministry announced Thursday home checks to check whether these weapons were kept in accordance with the rules.

After a gathering of thousands of people on Wednesday evening, the population continued Thursday to pay tribute to the victims in front of the school, where residents laid flowers, toys, messages, and light candles.

“Where are we as human beings, where is our empathy? How come we failed to see the problem, both with the person who did this, and with all the other people who led to what happened? school, Ana Djuric, a 37-year-old resident of Belgrade.