belgrade police chief
Belgrade police chief details how school shooting unfolded
02:38 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Eight children and a security guard were killed in a school shooting in the Serbian capital Belgrade, officials said. Another six children and a teacher were injured in the attack.
  • A 13-year-old boy was arrested in the shooting, officials said. His mother and father were also arrested, according to Serbian officials. Authorities said the boy used his father’s gun in the shooting.
  • Serbia has some of the highest levels of gun ownership in the world, but mass shootings are extremely rare.

Our live coverage has ended. Read more about the shooting here.

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What we know about the Belgrade school shooting

A 13-year-old boy opened fire on his classmates at a school in the Serbian capital Belgrade Wednesday, killing at least eight children — one boy and seven girls — along with a security guard.

While Serbia has a high level of gun ownership, mass shootings like these are rare. Here’s what we know about Wednesday’s shooting:

  • How it happened: After arriving early morning at the Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School, a well-known institution in Vračar, an upscale area of the Serbian capital, the teenage suspect “immediately pulled the pistol out of his bag” and shot the school’s security guard before he went on to take the lives of the eight schoolmates and injuring six others and a teacher, Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić said.
  • The suspect called police: “He left the classroom, went out into the schoolyard, releasing the magazine from the weapon, throwing it down the steps,” Milić said Wednesday, adding the suspect called the police himself and waited until he was arrested in the yard.
  • About the suspect: The teenage suspect was a student at the school, authorities said.
  • Possession of weapons: The suspect had two guns, Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic said at a news conference: “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. Separately, the boy had a 9mm pistol as well as a small calibre pistol in a bag, as well as four Molotov cocktails, Milić added.
  • What happens next: The suspect’s father was arrested Wednesday, the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade said. The mother was also arrested, according to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. The 13-year-old suspect will not be held criminally responsible as he has not reached the age of 14, the prosecutor’s office said, adding that this aligns with Serbia’s Law on Juvenile Offenders and the Criminal Legal Protection of Minors. The suspect would be placed in a special psychiatric institution, the president said.

CNN’s Josh Pennington, Amy Croffey and Radina Gigova contributed reporting to this post.

French national among killed in Belgrade school shooting

People light candles near a school after a shooting happened at Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school in Belgrade earlier Wednesday.

A female student “with French nationality” was killed in the school shooting in Belgrade this morning, the French foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

The ministry is ready to provide assistance to the family of the girl, it added.

“Our thoughts go out to the families of the victims, to whom we offer our deepest condolences, as well as to the many injured, to whom we wish a speedy recovery,” the ministry said.
“France expresses its full solidarity with the Serbian people and authorities in the face of this tragedy,” the statement added.

Eight children — seven girls and one boy — were killed along with one security guard during the shooting.

Mother of 13-year-old shooting suspect arrested, Serbian president says

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic addresses the media after a shooting at a school in Belgrade, Serbia, on May 3.

The mother of the 13-year-old Belgrade shooting suspect has been arrested, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The suspect would be placed in a special psychiatric institution, Vucic added.

“You see that he do not know what he did or show remorse,” Vucic said.

During its on-site investigation, the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade said in a statement Wednesday that it had ordered the presence of social workers while taking a statement and performing a medical examination on the suspect.

The 13-year-old’s blood was taken for toxicological analysis to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or other psychoactive substances at the time of the shooting.

Earlier, 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,” the prosecutor’s office said.

13-year-old school shooting suspect will not be held criminally responsible — father ordered to be detained

The 13-year-old suspect in the Belgrade school shooting will not be held criminally responsible as he has not reached the age of 14, the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade said in a statement on Wednesday.

This aligns with Serbia’s Law on Juvenile Offenders and the Criminal Legal Protection of Minors, the prosecutor’s office said.

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,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The prosecutor’s office ordered the presence of social workers while taking a statement and performing a medical examination on the suspect as part of the on-site investigation, the statement added.

The 13-year-old’s blood was taken for toxicological analysis to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or other psychoactive substances at the time of the shooting, it said.

“All the circumstances of this case, how he got the gun, as well as the motives of this heinous crime are being investigated,” the statement said.

More on the suspect: Earlier, Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic said that the suspect brought two guns from home and had previously visited a shooting range with his father.

“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.”

Belgrade school shooting suspect is 13 years old

The suspect in the Serbian school shooting is 13 years old, a Belgrade police bureau press officer confirmed to CNN. Earlier, his age was first given as 14.

Serbia has the fifth-highest level of gun ownership among civilians in the world

Serbia, a southern European country of nearly 7 million people, has more than 2,700,000 guns in private ownership — only 44% of which are officially registered, according to a 2018 analysis by the Small Arms Survey.

This means there are 39 guns for every 100 Serbians, the data project at the Geneva Graduate Institute found. It is the highest level of civilian gun ownership in Europe, and the fifth-highest in the world. More than 1.5 million guns that people in Serbia own are unregistered, data shows.

Other countries in Europe that also have a high per capita firearm ownership are Montenegro, Finland, Iceland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Austria. Meanwhile, Europe’s gun ownership is still incomparable to the United States, which has the highest gun ownership rate in the world, with more guns than people (120 guns per 100 people). 

Teenage suspect had two guns, interior minister says

The teenage suspect in a deadly shooting at a prestigious school in the Serbian capital Belgrade had two guns in his possession, the Serbian interior minister said at a news conference.

Bratislav Gasic said, “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.”

Separately, Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić detailed the boy had a 9mm pistol as well as a small caliber pistol in a bag, as well as four Molotov cocktails.

Earlier, Gasic said the boy’s father was also arrested.

This post has been updated with more details about the shooting.

School shooting suspect killed security guard before schoolmates, police chief says

Police stand outside near Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school in Belgrade, Serbia, on May 3.

The teenage suspect who opened fire at a school in Belgrade killed a security guard first, then went to a classroom where he shot some of his schoolmates, Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić said at a news conference Wednesday.

“Upon arriving at school, he immediately pulled the pistol out of his bag and shot (…) the security guard. He then went to the on-duty staff member and sat down at his desk like he did nothing wrong. There was one girl at her desk, another at the piano. He took their lives,” Milić said.

The chief added, “Then he went out into the corridor to the history classroom, put another clip in on the way. He went into the classroom and immediately shot the teacher and the students there from the door. Then he left the classroom, went out into the schoolyard, releasing the magazine from the weapon, throwing it down the steps, called the police, and after that we took him into custody.”

This post has been updated with more details about the shooting.

Father of shooting suspect arrested

The father of the teenage suspect in the Belgrade school shooting has been arrested, Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic said.

Gasic also said the father had previously gone to a shooting range with his son. 

What we know about the shooting: The shooting left at least eight children dead, along with a security guard. A further six children and one teacher have been hospitalized, according to Serbia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

This post has been updated with more details about the shooting.

Serbia declares 3 days of mourning following Belgrade school shooting

The Serbian Government has declared a three-day mourning period, starting Friday.

Serbia — a country with rare mass shooting incidents — is mourning the loss of nine lives in a school shooting in the Serbian capital Belgrade. Eight girls, one boy and a security guard were killed. Another six children and a teacher were injured in the attack.

European officials offer condolences to Belgrade school shooting victims

European officials are offering their condolences to the victims of a mass shooting at Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School in Belgrade, Serbia on Wednesday. At least nine people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of the attack.

Hadja Lahbib, Belgium’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

Jan Lipavský, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Czech Republic

Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

Edi Rama, Albania’s Prime Minister

Borjana Krišto, chairperson of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Council of Ministers, tweeted that she was “deeply shocked” to hear about the shooting, wished a speedy recovery to the injured and sent condolences to “all those mourning the loss of their loved ones.”

In photos: Aftermath of Belgrade school shooting

Serbia — a country with rare mass shooting incidents — is mourning the loss of nine lives in a school shooting in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

Seven girls and one boy were killed, alongside the security guard, Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić said at a news conference.

Here are some photos from the site of the deadly incident.

Police officers block a street near the Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school in Belgrade, Serbia, on May 3.
Ambulance cars stand ready as police officers block a street near the Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school on Wednesday in Belgrade.
A parent escorts her child following the shooting at Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school in Vračar, an upscale area of the Serbian capital.
Police block the street around the school in Belgrade on Wednesday.

Here's what we know about the school shooting in Belgrade, Serbia

Ambulance cars arrive at the site as police officers block a street near the Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school in Belgrade, Serbia, on May 3.

Nine people died and several more were injured after a student allegedly opened fire at a school in Belgrade, a rare mass shooting that took place in an upmarket part of the Serbian capital.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Eight children killed: The shooting happened in at the well-known Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School in the central Vračar neighborhood early Wednesday. Eight children — seven girls and one boy — and a security guard were killed.
  • Teenage suspect: A teenage suspect is in custody following the incident. He was arrested by authorities in the school’s yard, who gave his initials as KK. He is thought to have used his father’s weapon in the attack. The suspect, who authorities said was a student at the school, called police himself, told them what he did and waited in the schoolyard to be arrested, Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić said at a news conference Wednesday.
  • Seven people hospitalized: Six children and one teacher were hospitalized after sustaining wounds from the attack, according to officials. One of the wounded students – a schoolgirl – is undergoing surgery after she sustained life-threatening injuries.
  • Parents recall attack: Milan Milosevic, the father of one of the pupils where the Serbian school shooting took place, said his daughter was in the class where the gun was fired, Reuters reported. “She managed to escape. (The boy) … first shot the teacher and then he started shooting randomly,” he told broadcaster N1.
  • Scenes of horror: Photos emerged of parents comforting distressed children after the fatal shooting in central Belgrade on Wednesday, where ambulance cars lined the streets leading to the school. Police officers were pictured escorting the suspect, who was in handcuffs and wore a hood over his head.
  • A rare attack: Gun ownership is among the highest in the world in Serbia, with weapons widespread across the Balkans following the wars of the 1990s. But mass shootings, let alone school shootings, are rare in Serbia.
People react after students were shot at a school in Belgrade, Serbia, on May 3.

This post has been updated with more details about the shooting.

Serbia school shooting suspect called authorities himself, police chief says

A teenage suspect who opened fire at a school in Belgrade killing eight schoolchildren and one security guard called police himself, Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić said at a news conference Wednesday. 

When he called police, the suspect told them what he did and waited in the schoolyard to be arrested, Milić said. 

Serbia school shooting claimed the lives of 7 girls, 1 boy and 1 security guard, police chief says

Seven girls, one boy and one security guard were killed in a school shooting in the Serbian capital on Wednesday, Belgrade’s Police Chief Veselin Milić said at a news conference.

Milić said the suspect opened fire in the history classroom.

“He chose the history classroom because it was near the entrance of the school,” Milić said. 

Hungarian president sends condolences to victims of Belgrade school shooting

Hungarian President Katalin Novak speaks at Prague Castle, Czech Republic, on March 3.

Hungary’s President Katalin Novak tweeted her condolences to the victims of the deadly shooting at a school in Belgrade on Wednesday.

Eight students and a security guard are confirmed dead.  

“On behalf of #Hungary, I want to express my deepest condolences to [Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia] and, through him, to #Serbian nation, and families of those who lost their lives in the tragic shooting at Belgrade school. We pray for the victims and their families,” she said on Twitter.

The suspect, who authorities said was a student at the school, is in custody after nine people were killed and several more injured.

This post has been updated with more details about the shooting.

Father of Serbian schoolgirl shares harrowing account of trying to reach his daughter

The father of one of the students at a Belgrade school where a deadly shooting took place early Wednesday said he ran to look for his daughter after seeing police at the scene.

“I was heading to the bank, and I saw a bunch of police. That was around 8:50. I came running. I saw the school psychologist, I saw the school staff, the teachers who were in shock,” the father told N1.

A student allegedly opened fire at the Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School in central Belgrade, where nine people were killed and several others injured.

“The police came quickly, from what I could see. I asked: ‘Where’s my kid?’ And allegedly, one man said that the history teacher was shot. I went back to my apartment to look at my child’s schedule, and she was actually in history class. I took my wife with me and we went back out on the street,” he said. 

“I saw that the security guard was lying under a table, in a circle [of blood?] I went through the door looking for an attendant. I didn’t know what to do. I asked ‘Where’s my kid?’ and no one was saying anything,” he added.

The father said he learned that his daughter had gone to Tsvetni Trg, a location in Belgrade, not far from the Vracar neighborhood where the school is located.

“She called her mother. But her mother didn’t have her phone on her.”

The mother of one of the students said her daughter is “still in shock” following the deadly attack, according to N1. 

“My child is still in shock, full of adrenaline, we haven’t been able to calm her down,” she told N1.

Belgrade teacher wounded in shooting is 53 years old

The teacher who was wounded in the Belgrade school shooting, along with six other students, is 53 years old, according to CNN affiliate N1.

The female teacher and the wounded school children have been admitted to the emergency center at the University Clinical Center of Serbia, N1 reported. All patients are in surgery at the moment, according to the N1 website.

One of the wounded students – a schoolgirl –  is undergoing surgery after she sustained life-threatening injuries during the attack, according to officials.

"He started shooting randomly": Parent describes deadly Belgrade school shooting

The father of one of the pupils at a Serbian school where a student opened fire early Wednesday said the suspect “started shooting randomly.”

Milan Milosevic said his daughter was in the class where the gun was fired, Reuters reported.

“She managed to escape. (The boy) … first shot the teacher and then he started shooting randomly,” he told broadcaster N1, according to Reuters.

“I saw the security guard lying under the table. I saw two girls with blood on their shirts. They say he (the shooter) was quiet and a good pupil. He recently joined their class,” added Milosevic, who rushed to the school after the shooting.

Nine people were killed and several others injured following the school shooting in Belgrade. The suspect, who authorities said was a student at the school,  is in custody.

“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, Reuters reported.

This post has been updated with more details about the shooting.

Schoolgirl undergoing surgery after sustaining life-threatening injuries

Police block the street around the Vladislav Ribnikar school in Belgrade, Serbia, on Wednesday.

One of the children who sustained life-threatening injuries following Wednesday’s school shooting in Belgrade is now undergoing surgery, according to CNN affiliate N1. 

Seven people were left injured after a student opened fire at an elementary school in the Serbian capital, including six children and one teacher.

Teenage suspect was arrested in school's yard

Police officers escort a person suspected of firing several shots at a school in the capital of Belgrade on May 3.

A teenage boy suspected of opening fire at the school he attended in Belgrade was arrested by authorities in the school’s yard, according to officials.

“A student of this school K. K. (2009) who is suspected of having committed this crime was found and arrested,” Serbia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement. 

“All police forces are still on the ground and are intensively working to shed light on all the facts and circumstances that led to this tragedy,” the statement added. 

This post has been updated with more details about the shooting.

7 people hospitalized in Belgrade school shooting

The deadly school shooting in Belgrade has left seven people injured, according to Serbia’s Interior Ministry.

Six children and one teacher were hospitalized after sustaining wounds from the attack, according to the ministry. 

The shooting took place at the Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School in Vračar.

Suspect in Serbia school shooting photographed with police

The teenage suspect in the Belgrade school shooting was seen being led away by police.

Police officers escort a person who is suspected of firing several shots at a school in the capital of Belgrade on Wednesday.

Suspect "fired several shots from his father's gun"

A parent escorts her child following a shooting at a school in the capital Belgrade on Wednesday.

Serbian authorities say the suspect in the deadly shooting used a weapon belonging to his father in the attack.

The Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs said they were informed at 8:40 a.m. local time (2:40 a.m. ET) that a school shooting had happened at the Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School in Vračar, an upscale area of the Serbian capital.

“All available police patrols were dispatched to the scene, where they immediately went onto the school grounds and apprehended a minor, a seventh-grader who is suspected to have fired several shots from his father’s gun at students and the school security guard,” the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

BREAKING NEWS: 9 killed in Belgrade school shooting

Ambulances line up near the Vladislav Ribnikar school in Belgrade on Wednesday.

At least nine people have been killed, including eight children, after a student opened fire at an elementary school in the Serbian capital Belgrade on Wednesday, according to the Tanjug news agency.

A 14-year-old boy is in custody following the shooting.

Follow us for live updates on this developing story.