A 13-year-old boy carried out a meticulously planned attack on a classroom in Belgrade, Serbia, killing eight children and a school security guard, and injuring six others, including his teacher. The shooter used two of his father’s guns and may have been plotting the attack for a month.
Belgrade police revealed that 13-year-old Kosta Kecmanovic had made a list of the children he intended to kill and their classes, which “looks like something from a video game or a horror movie,” according to the head of Belgrade police, Veselin Milic. He added that the boy had also carried two petrol bombs.
After shooting the security guard and three girls in a hallway, Kecmanovic entered a history class and killed the teacher and five more pupils. He was arrested in the school playground after confessing to the shooting and was led away with his head covered.
The shooter’s father has also been arrested, as he claimed the arms were locked in a safe with a code. However, it appears that Kecmanovic had the code and used his father’s pistols and magazines, with 15 bullets each, for the attack.
“The father claimed the arms were locked in a safe with a code,” Serbia’s interior minister, Bratislav Gašić said, “but apparently the kid had the code. He took the pistols and three magazines with 15 bullets each.”
The incident sent shockwaves through Serbia, which has strict gun laws and has not witnessed a school shooting in recent years. Serbia’s interior minister, Bratislav Gašić, declared that the country would observe three days of mourning, and the education minister, Branko Ružić, expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.
Milan Milošević, a parent of a pupil at the school, recounted the harrowing scene when he arrived at the school after hearing of the shooting. He saw “the security guard lying under the table” and “two girls with blood on their shirts.”
Another pupil, who was in a sports class downstairs when the shooting began, said she heard non-stop gunfire and was receiving messages on her phone. She described the shooter as a “quiet guy” who “looked nice” and had good grades but was not open with everyone.
Doctors at Belgrade’s university hospital treated three pupils and the teacher, who are in critical condition. The head of the hospital, Milika Asanin, said one patient had been resuscitated and had chest and neck injuries. Another pupil was shot in the left leg and stomach, and the teacher suffered stomach and hand injuries.
The incident has once again raised concerns about the hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons left in the region following the wars and civil unrest of the 1990s, despite several amnesties issued by authorities for owners to hand in or register illegal guns.