Aftermath of school mass shooting in Belgrade Aftermath of school mass shooting in Belgrade 

Pope mourns victims of senseless mass shootings in Serbia

Pope Francis expresses sadness for two recent, separate mass shootings in Serbia, in which many people have died and others have been injured.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Friday expressed deep sadness at the news of the recent shootings in Serbia in which seventeen people, including eight young students, were killed in two separate incidents.

In a telegram addressed to Archbishop Ladislav Német of Belgrade, and signed on his behalf by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father conveyed “heartfelt condolences and the assurance of prayers to all those affected by these senseless acts of violence.”

The shootings

The first shooting took place on Wednesday when a 13-year-old boy opened fire killing eight fellow students and a security guard at the Vladislav Ribnikar Primary School in Belgrade.

The second shooting occurred on Friday morning at the villages of Mladenovac and Dubona when a young man started firing at people from a moving car with an automatic weapon after having an argument with a police officer in a Dubona park on Thursday evening.

Eight people were killed on the spot and 14 others were injured, two of them critically.

Both suspects have been detained.

Pope united in sorrow with the bereaved

The Pope said he is “spiritually united with the human sorrow of those who mourn the death of the innocent victims whom he consigns to the loving embrace of the Risen Lord.

 “While invoking the consolation and strength of the Holy Spirit upon the bereaved families and the wounded so that they may be sustained in their faith,” the telegram read, the Supreme Pontiff imparts “his comforting Apostolic blessing.

Ban on new gun permits

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vučić, condemned the shootings describing them as  "an attack on us all" and announced a host of new security measures, including a plan to hire 1,200 new police officers.

He also pledged to implement a ban on new gun permits, tougher penalties for illegal weapons possession and psychological checks of gun owners.

Mass shootings are extremely rare in Serbia, which has very strict gun laws, but gun ownership in the country is among the highest in Europe.

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05 May 2023, 16:09