Veteran kills 13 people in Serbia
VELIKA IVANCA, Serbia — He went from house to house in the village at dawn, cold-bloodedly gunning down his mother, his son, a 2-year-old cousin and 10 other neighbors. Terrified residents said if a police patrol car hadn't shown up, they all would have been dead.
Police said they knew of no motive yet in the carnage on Tuesday that left six men, six women and a child dead in Velika Ivanca, a Serbian village 30 miles southeast of Belgrade.
After the rampage, police said suspect Ljubisa Bogdanovic, a 60-year-old who saw action in one of the bloodiest sieges of the Balkan wars, turned his gun on himself and his wife as authorities closed in. Both were in grave condition at a hospital in the Serbian capital.
In the small lush village surrounded by fruit trees, the suspect's older brother Radmilo broke down in tears, unable to explain why the massacre had happened.
“Why did he do it? ... I still can't believe it,” he said sobbing, covering his face with his hands. “He was a model of honesty.”
“As a child, he was a frightened little boy. I used to defend him from other children. He couldn't even slaughter a chicken,” he said.
But he said his brother had changed after serving in the army during a brutal Serb-led offensive against the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar in 1992 — the worst bloodshed during Croatia's 1991-95 war for independence.
“The war had burdened him,” said Radmilo, 62. “He used to tell me, ‘God forbid you live through what I went through.' ... Something must have clicked in his head for him to do this.”
Twelve people in the village were killed between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. and one person died later in a Belgrade hospital, Serbian police chief Milorad Veljovic said.
“Most of the victims were shot while they were asleep,” Veljovic said. “The most harrowing scene discovered by police was the dead bodies of a young mother and her 2-year-old son.”
Although such mass shootings are relatively rare in Serbia, weapons are readily available, mostly from the 1990s wars in the Balkans. Media reports said the suspect had a license for the handgun and police said he had lost his job last year at a wood-processing factory.
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said the killings showed the government must pay more attention to gun control and other social problems facing the Balkan nation, which is still reeling from the 1990s wars.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Israeli leader signals no quick end to Gaza conflict
- Obama, European leaders agree to new Russia sanctions
- Libya torn by worst fighting since 2011 revolution
- Pakistani mob attacks minority Muslims, suffocates 3 over Facebook rumor
- Iraq’s split into 3 states becomes a reality
- Fighting in Ukraine prompts residents to flee
- Israeli PM warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza
- Syrian casualties surge amid rise in attacks by Islamic State
- Train with Ukraine plane crash bodies leaves rebel town
- Air Algerie flight ‘probably’ crashed in Mali in rough weather
- Red Army’s light show signals fear Hong Kong may lose its open society