OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 3:25 PM – Wednesday, May 3, 2023
A 13-year-old opened fire on Wednesday at Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School in Belgrade, Serbia, killing eight students and one security officer. Six more students are reportedly injured and a teacher has been admitted to the hospital.
Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić spoke at a news conference following the tragedy and shared that the suspect was believed to have been planning the attack “for a month,” drawing a map of the school, as well as having a list of students that he planned to target. According to the police chief, the teenage suspect had later called the police himself and waited until he was arrested in the yard.
“He left the classroom, went out into the schoolyard, releasing the magazine from the weapon, throwing it down the steps,” Milić said.
Milić said that the boy was armed with his father’s 9mm pistol, a small caliber pistol, and four Molotov cocktails.
“The parent had several pieces of weapon and kept them locked up. The safe had a code. Obviously, the kid had the code as soon as he managed to get hold of those two guns. And three frames full of 15 bullets each,” authorities said.
According to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade, the student’s parents have also been arrested.
In accordance with Serbia’s law on Juvenile Offenders and the Criminal Legal Protection of Minors, the 13-year-old suspect will not be held criminally responsible, as he has not reached the age of 14.
The suspect’s father was ordered to be detained for up to 48 hours on “suspicion of having committed the criminal offense of serious offenses against general security.”
Authorities announced that the boy would be housed in a specialized mental hospital. As part of the on-site investigation, the prosecutor’s office mandated that social workers be present when interviewing the suspect and completing a medical evaluation on him.
According to the report, the 13-year-old’s blood was drawn for toxicological testing to see if he was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other psychoactive substances when the incident occurred.
In a televised address to the country, President Aleksandar Vucic described the attack as “the most difficult day in the modern history of our country.”
Serbia has declared three days of national mourning over the tragedy.
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