Montenegro Mourns After 10 Killed in Shooting Spree

CETINJE, Montenegro — Montenegro declared three days of national mourning Saturday, a day after 10 people, including two children, were killed in a daylight attack by a 34-year-old gunman who police said had recently exhibited a “change in behavior.”

The attacker used a hunting rifle to first shoot to death two children, 8 and 11, and their mother, who lived as tenants in his house in the western city of Cetinje’s Medovina neighborhood. After that, he walked down the street shooting thirteen more people. Seven of those killed. Following a confrontation with police officers, the gunman was later shot to death.

Police investigating the rampage issued a statement Saturday saying it was still unclear what motivated the gunman — identified only by his initials, V.B. But they said people close to the attacker said he had recently started exhibiting a “change in behavior but nothing that indicated he could commit such a crime.” The attacker had an appointment to see a mental health care specialist but went on the rampage prior to it.

Police also stated that the attacker opened fire on the police officers who responded to his threat by shooting at him approximately 20 times, injuring him severely.

“It is still being investigated if he died as the result of the serious injury (by police) or as the result of being shot at by a local citizen,” the statement said.

Andrijana Nast, the prosecution coordinator, stated to journalists that the gunman died from a pedestrian and that there were also injuries. According to her, nine victims were killed on the spot and two more died in hospital.

Saturday was a difficult day for witnesses to the attack. Witnesses described horror and chaos as the gunman enacted his anger on innocent civilians going about their day on a hot summer’s afternoon.

“You could hear women crying, people shouting in panic that a man has a weapon and is indiscriminately shooting around. I heard gunshots,” said witness Milena Stanojevic. “I’ve seen a lot of crying, tears and sadness and today, silence and disbelief.”

Cetinje, a city of 17,000 people and the seat of Montenegro’s former royal government, is 36 kilometers (22 miles) west of Podogrica, the current capital of the small Balkan nation.

Four injured were taken to the Clinical Center, Podgorica, for surgery. The remaining two were still under intensive care Saturday morning, said Dr. Ivan Terzic. Two more suffered minor injuries but were being treated in a Cetinje hospital.

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