Eight students and the guard of a primary school in Belgrade were shot dead and six other students and their teacher were injured by a student from that school who was detained, Serbian authorities said on Wednesday.

The incident caused shock in this country, where school shootings are extremely rare.

“In the shooting that took place this morning at Vladislav Ribnikar Primary School, in Vracar (in the center of Belgrade), eight children and a security guard were killed, while six children and a teacher were injured and hospitalized.” The Ministry of the Interior reports this in a statement.

The suspect, a 14-year-old teenager, was found and detained in the schoolyard, according to the same source.

Serbian police arrested a student on May 3, 2023 after a shooting at a primary school in the capital Belgrade, the Interior Ministry said. Photo: AFP

The ministry reported that the arrested young man was “suspected of shooting several times at students and a school security guard with a pistol belonging to his father”.

“All police forces are on scene and are working to clarify the facts and circumstances that led to this tragedy,” the ministry said.

This has been stated by the chairman of the municipality of Vracar, Milan Nedeljkovic the school security guard had been killed and that several students and a history teacher had been injured.

“He wanted to prevent this tragedy and he died (…) The drama would probably have been worse if this man had not been standing in front of the boy who was shooting,” Nedeljkovic added in statements broadcast on national television were broadcast.

He added that the teacher was serious.

Schools are closing in Belgrade

Shortly after the shooting, which took place at around 8:40 am (0640 GMT), police cordoned off the perimeter of the school, where numerous ambulances rushed to collect the injured, while concerned parents waited for their children, according to one report. AFP journalist.

Police have not released additional information about the suspected shooter or comment on a possible motive.

Schools across Belgrade were closed after the shooting, according to state media, as shock spread through the capital.

The shooting took place at 08:40 local time (0640 GMT) at a primary school in the Vracar district of central Belgrade.
Photo: AFP

Astrid Merlini, whose daughter was at school, indicated that the teachers quickly hid the children during the shooting.

“When my daughter saw the security guard fall, she ran back to her class. Scared, she told her teacher that there was shooting going on upstairs,” Merlini said.

“The teacher immediately took the children to safety and locked them in the classroom,” he added.

Gun violence in schools is extremely rare in Serbia, where the purchase of a firearm requires a special permit.