Shooter arrested in second Serbian mass shooting in two days

Serbia is reeling from unprecedented violence as they tackle the feelings and socio-political ramifications surrounding a second mass shooting in two days.  

Early Friday, Serbian authorities caught up with the suspect in a series of shootings that left 8 dead and 14 wounded.  The arrest was the result of a tireless night-long search by authorities, cordoning off an area south of Belgrade where the shooting took place.  The shooting spanned three villages near Mladenovac, where the shooting apparently drove by and fired indiscriminately.  

Serbian interior minister, Bratislav Gasic, called the shootings on Thursday a “terrorist act,”; and although Serbia is no stranger to the bloodshed and chaos of wars, these two mass shootings are the first in a decade.  

The mass shooting that took place on Wednesday was at the Vladislav Ribnikar primary school in central Belgrade, where the perpetrator, 13-year-old Kosta Kecmenovic, killed 8 teens and wounded over a dozen more.  He is currently being held at a mental institution as he is too young to be charged under Serbian laws, and his father has been detained on suspicion of endangering public security – a measure that essentially penalizes any parent that lets their children get a hold of a gun.  

Serbian teachers’ unions have begun protests and strikes to draw governmental attention to the many crises plaguing the school system, and Serbian government officials enacted a two-year moratorium on short-barreled rifles, as well as restrictions on people with guns and gun ranges, and tougher sentences for anyone who enables minors to access guns.  

Serbia does have a celebrated gun culture, largely as a result of past wars (as recent as the 1990s), which left a cache of guns countrywide in their wake.  Guns are often used in celebrations.  There is also a culture that often glorifies war criminals and “warriors” alike, which has become worrying for psychological and sociological experts, who have closely watched the shift of life in Serbia since the 90s.  


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