Eight children and a security guard have been killed after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on his teacher and other students in a school shooting in Serbia, the country’s interior ministry has said.
The seventh-grade student used his father’s gun for the attack at the Vladislav Ribnikar elementary school in the capital Belgrade, officers added.
Milan Nedeljkovic, mayor of the central Vracar district where the school is located, said the teacher is fighting for their life after being shot.
Six children who were injured are also being treated.
The suspect has been arrested with local media footage showing his head covered as officers led him to a car parked nearby.
Police have identified him only by his initials KK and said he was arrested in the schoolyard.
Officers in helmets and bulletproof vests have cordoned off the area after the shooting at around 8:40 am local time.
Police investigate motive for school shooting in Serbia
Reports in Serbia say terrified parents arrived at the school trying to find their children.
Milan Milosevic said his daughter was in the classroom where the shooting began.
“She managed to escape. [The boy] …first shot the teacher and then he started shooting randomly,” Mr Milosevic told broadcaster N1.
He added: “I saw the security guard lying under the table. I saw two girls with blood on their shirts. They say he [the shooter] was quiet and a good pupil. He recently joined their class.”
An investigation into the motive behind the shooting is under way, police said in a statement.
Mass shootings are comparatively rare in Serbia, which has very strict gun laws.
But the western Balkans are awash with hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons following wars and unrest in the 1990s.
Serbian authorities have issued several amnesties for owners to hand in or register illegal guns.
In the last mass shooting in 2013, a Balkan war veteran killed 13 people in a central Serbian village.
In Serbia, school shootings are a rare phenomenon, but in the US they have become frequent. In March a 28-year-old perpetrator shot dead three children and three adults at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee. The perpetrator was then shot and killed by the police.
In May 2022 nineteen children and two adults died in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, roughly eighty miles west of San Antonio.
The eighteen-year-old gunman, identified by officials as Salvador Ramos, opened fire before he was killed by law enforcement. It is believed he acted alone.
The shooting was the deadliest at an elementary school since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, including twenty children aged six to seven years old.