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By Stefan J.Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
BELGRADE/BUDAPEST(BosNewsLife)– A 60-year-old war veteran has killed 13 people in a shooting spree near Serbia’s capital Belgrade,including his own son, mother and a two-year-old cousin, local police said.
Serbian officials said Ljubisa Bogdanovic took his handgun to kill in total six men, six women and the toddler in a predawn house-to-house rampage in the Serbian village of Velika Ivanca.
Villagers claimed Bogdanovic first killed his son before leaving the house.
He then began shooting other family members and neighbors, some of whom were still asleep in this usually quite town, some 50 kilometers southeast of the capital Belgrade.
The gunman also tried to kill his wife and himself. Both were rushed to hospital in serious condition.
The visibly shocked police chief Milorad Veljovic told reporters on the scene that his team is still investigating why the shooting took place.
“We want to know the motive for these terrible murders, we’re all just stunned about this tragedy,” he said.
Veljovic explained that Bogdanovic came from “a quiet family and had no criminal record.”
He said, “Those who were killed in five houses were mainly his relatives and neighbors. ”
Serbian media have reported that Bogdanovic had lost his job last year and was a veteran of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, having fought in Croatia in 1992.
DAY OF MOURNING
The Serbian government held an emergency session and was expected to proclaim a day of national mourning.
Tuesday’s shooting has underscored concerns about the stockpiles of weapons leftover from the war and the many people who possess a firearm as a form of personal protection.
The last mass murder in Serbia took place in 2007 in the eastern village of Jabukovac, where a man killed nine people.
It comes at a time of political turmoil in Serbia after the Serbian Orthodox Church urged the government to reject a European Union-backed plan for itf former province of Kosovo.
Belgrade has rejected a EU-mediated deal under which Belgrade would give up control over northern Kosovo, saying it did not provide autonomy for Serba living there.
The move was expected to undermine Serbia’s efforts to join the EU.
(BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments from especially, but not limited to, (former) Communist countries and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or other compassionate professionals).
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