A seventh-grade student went on a shooting rampage at a school in Belgrade, Serbia, early on Wednesday, killing eight children and a security guard, the Serbian police said.
The shooting took place around 8:40 a.m. at Vladislav Ribnikar primary school, in the upscale neighborhood of Vracar, Veselin Miljic, the chief of the Belgrade police, said at a news conference. The student entered the school with two pistols, one that he had taken from his father’s apartment, and four Molotov cocktails.
While his motive was not known, the student had “planned the execution of this criminal offense for a long period of time,” Mr. Miljic said.
Authorities were alerted to the shooting around 8:40 a.m., when they received a call from the school’s vice principal, Ivanka Jovanovic, who said that a child had “entered the school with a firearm and was shooting randomly,” the police chief said.
Shortly after, the authorities received a call from the perpetrator, saying that he had shot several people at the school and giving its address, Mr. Miljic said.
The suspect was apprehended in the schoolyard, the police said earlier in a statement. Six children and a teacher were injured in the attack and taken to the hospital. A security guard was killed while trying to stop the attack, according to the district’s mayor, Milan Nedeljkovic.
“He wanted to prevent a tragedy, which would have been even greater if he had not stood in front of the boy who shot,” Mr. Nedeljkovic said in an interview with state media outside the school on Wednesday.
“The children are under stress. The school is closed. Something like this has never been recorded in the history of Belgrade schools,” he added.
The director of the Clinical Center of Serbia, Milika Asanin, said that four people, including three students and a teacher, had been admitted to the facility’s emergency center after 9 a.m., and were being treated for gunshot wounds.
One student, around 13, had “life-threatening injuries” after being hit in the chest and head, Serbia’s health minister, Danica Grujicic, said at a news conference. Another student had been shot in her stomach and arms, according to Dr. Asanin. And the teacher, who was born in 1970, had also sustained gunshot wounds in her stomach and both hands.
“All patients are in the operating rooms, one student’s surgery is nearing the end and she is in a stable condition, we are waiting and monitoring the others,” Dr. Asanin said in an interview with Serbian state television.
Three official days of mourning, starting on May 7, were confirmed by Serbia’s minister of education, Branko Ruzic, in a televised briefing.
Video broadcast on local TV from the scene of the shooting showed dozens of vehicles, including ambulances and police cars, stationed outside the school, watched by local residents.
Photographs released by news agencies showed the police detaining the student, whose head was covered with a dark piece of clothing. The authorities did not offer any motive for the shooting.
“All police forces are still on the ground working intensively to shed light on all the facts and circumstances that led to this tragedy,” said the statement, which was posted by Serbia’s ministry of public affairs on Facebook.
Gun violence is rare in Serbia, although stockpiles of weapons from the Balkan wars in the 1990s remain and many Serbs keep weapons at home for protection.
A mass shooting in 2013 left 13 people dead after a 60-year-old man opened fire in a village near Belgrade.
Alisa Dogramadzieva contributed reporting.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.