The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Serb man suspected of killing 13 in shooting rampage dies in hospital

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The Serbian veteran suspected of killing 13 people in a shooting rampage and then turning the gun on himself and his wife died Thursday, hospital officials said.

Ljubisa Bogdanovic, 60, died from head wounds, Belgrade Emergency Hospital said. His wife Javorka Bogdanovic, 60, was recovering from surgery and her condition is serious but stable.

Bogdanovic went on a pre-dawn, house-to-house rampage Tuesday in a village near Belgrade, including killing his mother, his son and a 2-year-old cousin, police say.

Milovan Kostadinovic, a neighbour who said he and his family survived only because a police patrol showed up in the village after a call by Bogdanovic's wife, said "he should have suffered more for what he did to us."

"I've heard that he died," Kostadinovic said. "It's better that way. I feel better now that I know he passed away."

Authorities are searching for motives in the worst peacetime shooting rampage in Serbia. Bogdanovic had no criminal record or history of mental illness. He fought in the Balkan wars in the 1990s and lost his job a year ago at a wood processing factory.

Residents of the village of Velika Ivanca, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of Belgrade, have said Bogdanovic first killed his son and his mother before leaving his home and going house to house, shooting his neighbours. They expressed deep shock, describing the suspect as a quiet and helpful man.

Funerals for the victims are on Friday in the village.

Serbian officials said the killings showed the government must pay more attention to gun control, medical screening for war veterans and other social problems facing the Balkan nation, which is still reeling from the 1990s wars.

Although such mass shootings are relatively rare in Serbia, weapons are readily available. Police said the suspect had a license for the handgun he used.

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AP video journalist Marko Drobnjakovic contributed to this report.

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