13 People Killed in Shooting Spree in Serbia

13 People Killed in Shooting Spree in Serbia

(AP) 13 people killed in shooting spree in Serbia
Associated Press
A 60-year-old veteran gunned down 13 people in Serbia, including a baby, in a pre-dawn house-to-house rampage Tuesday before trying to kill himself and his wife, police and hospital officials said.

The man, identified as Ljubisa Bogdanovic, used a handgun in the shooting spree at five houses in Velika Ivanca, a village 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Belgrade, emergency hospital spokeswoman Nada Macura said. The dead included six women, several of them his relatives.

Residents of the village described the suspect as a nice, quiet man. They said he first killed his son before leaving the house and then began shooting his neighbors, some of whom were still asleep.

Neighbor Milovan Kostadinovic said the suspected killer was caught by a police patrol while on the way to his house.

Serbian police chief Milorad Veljovic said 12 people were killed immediately between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., and one person died in a Belgrade hospital. The man and his wife were both severely injured by the shootings and another person was also injured, the hospital spokeswoman said.

He said the motive for the killings Tuesday was unclear. The suspect had lost his job last year and fought as a Serb soldier in the war in Croatia in 1992, he said.

Macura said the man had no known history of mental illness. Kostadinovic’s wife Stanica said the man’s father had hanged himself when he was a young boy and his uncle had a history of mental illness.

Although such shootings are rare in Serbia, weapons are readily available, mostly from the 1990s wars in the Balkans. Initial reports said the suspect had a license for the handgun.

Police blocked off the village while forensic teams and investigators in white protective robes took evidence from homes where the shootings took place.

Serbia’s last large shooting spree occurred in 2007, when a 39-year-old man gunned down nine people and injured two others in an eastern village.