Nine shot dead at school in Belgrade, teenager arrested

“I saw kids running out from the school, screaming. Parents came, they were in panic. Later I heard three shots,” a girl who attends a high school adjacent to Vladislav Ribnikar told state TV RTS.

A student who was in a sports class downstairs when the gunfire erupted, said, “I was able to hear the shooting. It was non-stop. I didn’t know what was happening. We were receiving some messages on the phone.”

The student, who was identified only by her initials, E.M., because of her age, described the suspect as a “quiet guy” who “looked nice”.

“He was having good grades, but we didn’t know much about him,” she added. “He was not so open with everybody. Surely I wasn’t expecting this to happen. ”

Casualties are being treated and an investigation into the motives behind shooting is under way, police said in a statement.

Unlike in the United States, mass shootings are comparatively rare in Serbia, which has very strict gun laws; none were reported at schools in recent years. But the western Balkans are awash with hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons following wars and unrest in the 1990s as well as ongoing economic hardship. In the last mass shooting, a Balkan war veteran in 2013 killed 13 people in a central Serbian village.

Serbian authorities have issued several amnesties for owners to hand in or register illegal guns.

Reuters, AP

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