Police director: Motive for shooting spree unknown

BELGRADE -- Police Director Milorad Veljović has said that the motive for the murder of 13 people in a Serbian village early on Monday remains unknown.

Velika Ivanča this morning (Tanjug)
Velika Ivanča this morning (Tanjug)

Veljović was at the scene in Velika Ivanča, where a man, identified as Ljubiša B. (60), is believed to have committed the murders before attempting suicide.

Veljović confirmed that 12 people died instantly, while another perished at the Emergency Center in Belgrade.

"We have never seen a tragedy like this in Serbia, and for that reason a motive must be ascertained - what prompted this man to kill so many people in their sleep," the top MUP official told reporters.

He specified that all the victims were killed with using a CZ-88 pistol, and that they were the shooter's relatives who lived in five nearby homes. The youngest of the victims was only two years old. Both his parents were also killed.

"Most likely the murders would have continued had a police patrol that arrived at the scene not prevented him, in a way," Velković said of the suspected killer.

Namely, Ljubiša B. shot himself in the head when he saw the police officers.

Veljović further revealed that the man did not have a police record, and that he fought in the war in Slavonia in 1991. The police have no information about any previous mental illness, Veljović said.

Belgrade City Assembly Aleksandar Antić offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

"We are in contact with the prime minister and the first deputy prime minister, and we will reach a decision during the day on determining a day of mourning," Antić said.

The village where the murders took place is located between the Belgrade municipality of Mladenovac and the town of Topola.