Eight children and a security guard were killed after a teenage boy opened fire at a school in the Serbian capital Belgrade on Wednesday, police said.
The suspect, a seventh grade student who police identified only by the initials “K.K.,” was arrested in the school yard, authorities said. They said he was a student at the school and had fired several shots from his father’s gun.
A motive in the shooting, which left six more children and a teacher injured and hospitalized, was not immediately clear.
Officers had responded to reports of a shooting at the Vladislav Ribnikar school at around 8:40 a.m. local time Wednesday, police said.
Milan Milosevic, a father of one of the students at the Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school, said his daughter “managed to escape” the shooting.
Speaking with broadcaster N1, he said the suspect had “fired first at the teacher and then the children who ducked under the desks,” according to the Associated Press. “She said he was a quiet boy and a good student,” he quoted his daughter as saying, according to the news agency.
Mass shootings in Serbia and the broader Balkan region are extremely rare.
“I really don’t know what to say. This is a complete tragedy of a society,” Serbian politician Miodrag Gavrilovic said in a tweet reacting to the shooting. “Aggression and violence is at every turn, but if the shooting happens in an elementary school…”
“I seriously fear for the consciousness of our children,” the MP later wrote. “Well, that boy is only one year older than my son. I do not know. This tragedy deeply affected me personally.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Associated Press, Victoria Di Gioacchino and Kate Brannelly contributed.