Montenegro mourns after 10 killed in street attack

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

The attacker used a shotgun to first shoot two children, 8 and 11, and their mother, who lived as tenants in his home in the western town of Cetinje’s Medovina district. He then walked to the street and randomly shot 13 more people, seven of them fatally. The gunman was later shot dead after a shootout with police.

Police investigating the blaze released a statement Saturday saying it was still unclear what motivated the gunman — identified only by his initials, VB. committed such a crime.” The assailant had an appointment with a mental health specialist, but raved about it.

The police statement also said that law enforcement officers sent to the scene came under fire from the attacker and responded by firing at him at least 20 times, seriously injuring him.

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

The prosecutor coordinating the investigation, Andrijana Nastic, told reporters on Friday that the gunman was killed by a passer-by and that a police officer was among the injured. She said nine of the dead died on the spot and two in a hospital.

Witnesses to the attack on Saturday struggled to cope with the massacre. They described scenes of chaos and horror as the gunman unleashed his wrath on innocent people just going about their daily business on a hot summer afternoon.

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“You could hear women crying, people screaming in panic that a man has a gun and shooting indiscriminately. I heard gunshots,” witness Milena Stanojevic said. “I have seen a lot of crying, tears and sadness and today silence and disbelief.”

Cetinje, a town of 17,000 inhabitants and the seat of the former royal government of Montenegro, is located 36 kilometers west of Podogrica, the current capital of the small Balkan country.

Four of the injured were taken to the Podgorica Clinical Center for surgery and were still in intensive care on Saturday, according to chief neurosurgeon, Dr. Ivan Terzic. Two others suffered minor injuries and were recovering at a hospital in Cetinje.

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