(Mladenovac) A shooting in Serbia left eight dead and 14 injured and its alleged perpetrator was arrested Friday morning after several hours of tracking, a new bloody episode in a country already in shock from the killing that occurred shortly before in a school.

This new killing took place late Thursday evening in three villages near Mladenovac, about sixty kilometers south of Belgrade.

“After an extensive manhunt, members of the Interior Ministry arrested U.B., born in 2002, in the Kragujevac region” in central Serbia, the Ministry of Interior announced. Interior in a statement.

“He is suspected of having killed […] with an automatic weapon eight people and of having injured fourteen others”, according to the same source, which specifies that all the injured people are hospitalized.

Serbian national television (RTS) reported 13 injuries in the morning.

According to RTS, the assailant first fired on people who were in the courtyard of a school in the village of Dubona, killing several people, including a policeman who was not on duty, and his sister. .

He then shot people in two other villages, Malo Orasje and Sepsin, before fleeing.

The media report that the victims are mostly young people.

Friday at sunrise, many police officers crisscrossed the area, overflown by a helicopter equipped with a searchlight in search of the shooter, according to an AFP photographer on the spot.

About 600 law enforcement officers were deployed, including members of a special counter-terrorism unit, media reported. The police blocked the access road to the villages.

Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic called the incident a “terrorist act”.

This new shooting came the day after the shooting of eight children and a caretaker in a school in Belgrade, a mass killing that deeply shocked the country.

Seven people – six students and a teacher – were also injured in the attack, and two were still in critical condition on Thursday after undergoing a series of surgeries.

The alleged shooter, a 13-year-old student, was arrested shortly after the shooting in the schoolyard, where he was awaiting the arrival of police, and was placed in a psychiatric hospital.

The shooter’s father, a reputable doctor who owns the gun used, has been arrested and is due to be heard by a prosecutor on Friday.

Three days of national mourning were decreed from Friday, after this first killing. Celebrations and planned events will be largely cancelled. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic lamented “one of the most difficult days in the contemporary history” of Serbia.

A large number of firearms have been circulating in the Balkans since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the bloody wars of the 1990s.

Some 765,000 weapons, including more than 232,000 pistols, are legally registered in Serbia, a country of around seven million people where shooting ranges are popular.

In April 2013, a villager shot and killed 13 people, including family members and neighbors, near Mladenovac, the same area as Thursday night’s shooting.

A license is required to own firearms in Serbia. The Interior Ministry announced Thursday home checks to check whether weapons were kept in safes, in accordance with the rules in force.

Throughout Thursday, thousands of Belgrade residents laid flowers, toys, messages, and lit candles outside the Vladislav Ribnikar school in the city center where the carnage took place. place.

Candlelight vigils are also held in Zagreb, Croatia, and Banja Luka, Bosnia.

Masses for the victims were celebrated in the churches of Belgrade. The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Porfirije, called the shooting “a disaster like never before in our nation and homeland.”