Serbia: 8 Dead in Second Mass Shooting in 2 Days
On Friday, Serbian police — after an overnight manhunt — arrested a suspect who killed at least eight people and critically wounded 14 others in a series of shootings south of Belgrade late on Thursday.
- On Friday, Serbian police — after an overnight manhunt — arrested a suspect who killed at least eight people and critically wounded 14 others in a series of shootings south of Belgrade late on Thursday.1
- The 21-year-old gunman — identified by the initials UB — reportedly fired an automatic weapon from a moving vehicle in the village of Dubona, killing a police officer, among others. After fleeing from the scene, he is reported to have continued to shoot at civilians in the neighboring villages of Malo Orašje and Šepšin.2
- Thursday's shooting came a day after a 13-year-old student — armed with his father's handguns and two petrol bombs — killed eight children and a security guard at his school in the capital.2
- Following the country's first mass school shooting, the Serbian government announced tougher rules on gun ownership — including a two-year moratorium on new licenses and a review of existing permits.1
- Though the country has many weapons left behind after the wars of the 1990s, mass shootings are extremely rare. The last mass shooting was in 2013 when a war veteran killed 13 people in a central Serbian village.3
- Meanwhile, gun ownership in the country is among the highest in the world. Serbia ranks fifth — behind the United States, Yemen, and New Caledonia, and tied with Montenegro — with an estimated 39 firearms per 100 people.4
Sources: 1New York Times, 2Guardian, 3NPR Online News, and 4Wisevoter.
- Narrative A, as provided by NPR Online News. Decades of armed conflicts have already created a state of permanent insecurity, economic instability, and a highly divided country — which is why Serbia’s strict gun laws are not enough to curb a cultural tradition of owning guns. If guns continue to be part of celebrations, convicted war criminals continue to be glorified, and violence against minority groups continues to go unpunished, mass shootings will, unfortunately, become a norm sooner than later.
- Narrative B, as provided by New York Times. Thursday's shooting is a terrorist act, which has sent shockwaves through Serbia — where mass murders are rare, automatic weapons are illegal, and gun licenses are given only to people trained in handling firearms and with no criminal record in the past four years. Until the government addresses the roots of the violence and the authorities offer details about the motive for the shootings, the country must stand together in shared grief.