BELGRADE (AFP) - A Serbian gunman who shot dead 13 people in the country’s worst massacre in two decades, died Thursday from a self-inflicted gun wound, according to a source at Belgrade’s emergency centre.
"Ljubisa Bogdanovic passed away at 2pm (8pm Singapore time)," the source told AFP.
The 60-year-old war veteran had been in critical condition after shooting himself in the head following a rampage through his tiny village that left six men, six women and a two-year-old boy dead.
The dead included his son and his mother as he went house-to-house, mainly shooting people in the dead as they slept peacefully.
His wife Javorka, who was shot twice but survived, earlier offered harrowing testimony of the bloodbath, the Balkan country’s worst such shooting in 20 years.
“I was in the kitchen where I usually sleep when he entered with a gun saying there was no more life for us. Then he fired,” she told police, according to the Vecernje Novosti daily.
Hit in the head, the wife heard another shot before fainting. When she regained consciousness she crawled to the bathroom.
“Then I heard the door. He again entered the house and talked to me, surprised to see me alive. He shot me again,” the woman was reported as saying.
Some neighbours in the village of Velika Ivanca, some 50km south of Belgrade, initially expressed surprise that he was capable of such violence, but his brother-in-law said he had a history of domestic violence.
“He was brutally beating her (Javorka) when the kids were small. I know that he was nervous and had a bad temper,” Mr Zivomir Starcevic told the Vecernje Novosti.
“My sister never wanted to admit it, but I found out that he even beat her with a chain,” said Mr Starcevic.
Ms Javorka herself told the same paper: “He was very nervous. He was beating me. His father was the same.”
The victims are expected to be buried on Friday as Serbia remains in shock and politicians debate the possibility of introducing tougher gun control legislation.
Prime Minister Ivica Dacic has said that society needed to “pay more attention to prevent such crimes” and the country’s police chief has said tighter new laws would be sent to parliament in the coming days.
The new law foresees a medical examination every three to five year for all those who have a licence for a gun or ammunition, according to the police chief, Milorad Veljovic.
Serbia ranked fifth out of 178 countries in a 2007 survey of gun ownership carried out by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International, with an average 37.8 guns per 100 inhabitants.
The killer’s exact motives for the murder spree remain unclear but family members said some of his relatives had undergone psychiatric treatment in the past. Locals said his father committed suicide when he was a child.
Bogdanovic fought as a member of Serb forces during the 1990s war in neighbouring Croatia. After losing his job as a labourer last year, he became a farmer.