Two mass shootings in two days in Serbia, where such tragedies are rare, have sent the country and the surrounding Balkan region into a state of shock.
On Thursday, there was a regrettable incident where eight individuals lost their lives and 14 others were injured. A 21-year-old individual allegedly opened fire on pedestrians from a moving vehicle in a town located south of Belgrade.
One day prior, a 13-year-old suspect allegedly executed an attack that had been planned for several months. Tragically, the assailant took the lives of eight of his classmates and a security guard. On Friday, Serbia respectfully announced an official three-day period of mourning to honour the child victims of Wednesday’s drive-by attack. President Aleksandar Vucic expressed his deep sorrow for the “terrorist attack” that occurred on Thursday and proposed implementing stricter gun control measures. He also stated that justice will be served and the individuals responsible for this heinous act will be held accountable. The president expressed his hope that both the young and older individuals involved will be brought to justice. During a national address, President Vucic, dressed in a dark suit, expressed that the individual responsible for the incident was reportedly wearing a T-shirt displaying neo-Nazi symbols. He did not provide any additional information regarding the shootings.
Vucic has suggested implementing a moratorium on gun permits, irrespective of the type of weapon, as a means of “practical disarmament” in Serbia. Additionally, he has proposed more frequent medical and psychological evaluations for gun owners. The government plans to increase security in schools by hiring 1,200 additional police officers, as stated by the speaker. Vucic mentioned that he had suggested the reinstatement of the death penalty, however, he respects the government’s stance against it.
In Serbia, the president’s role is primarily ceremonial; however, it should be noted that Vucic holds significant influence as he also leads the ruling party.