9 Apr 2013

13 killed in Serbia shooting rampage

A 60-year-old army veteran guns down 13 people in a murderous rampage in Serbia, killing his mother, his son and a two-year-old cousin before shooting himself and his wife.

Police say Ljubisa Bogdanovic used a handgun in his shooting spree spanning five houses in the village of Velika Ivanca, just 30 miles southeast of Belgrade.

Doctors report the suspect’s condition is critical but his wife is currently able to communicate with hospital staff.

Twelve victims died immediately during the 5am attack, with another dying later in a Belgrade hospital.

The man and his wife were both severely injured by the shootings, and another unnamed person has also been injured, police confirm.

It is believed most of the victims were shot while they were asleep. The worst scene discovered by police was the dead bodies of a young mother with her two-year-old son.

The motive for the killings is currently unclear.

‘Quiet man’

Shocked locals said the man first killed his son and his mother before leaving his house and then shooting his neighbours. They described the suspect as a quiet man living in one of a dozen modest homes that make up the village.

“He knocked on the doors and as they were opened he just fired a shot,” local resident Radovan Radosavljevic said.

“He was a good neighbour and anyone would open their doors to him. I don’t know what happened.”

An entire five-member family is reported to have been shot dead at one house, including a small boy who was a cousin of the killer.

Milovan Kostadinovic said the suspect was confronted by police while en route to his house, claiming: “If they didn’t stop him, he would have wiped us all out.”

Fought in Vukovar

The suspect had lost his job last year and previously fought as a Serb soldier in the war in Croatia in 1992. Locals said Bogdanovic fought in Vukovar, the scene of the worst bloodshed during Croatia’s 1991-95 war for independence. He had no known history of mental illness.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said the killings showed that the government must pay more attention to gun control laws and other social problems facing the Balkan nation.

The Serbian government has held an emergency session and is expected to proclaim a day of national mourning.

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