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Velika Ivanča shooting
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: House-to-house rampage - Motive unclear
Number of victims: 13
Date of murders: April 9, 2013
Date of birth: 1953
Victims profile: Dobrila Bogdanović, 83 (his mother) / Branko Bogdanović, 42 (his son) / Mihajlo Despotović, 61 / Milena Despotović, 61 / Goran Despotović, 23 / Jovana Despotović, 21 / David Despotović, 2 / Ljubina Ješić, 64 / Miloš Ješić, 48 / Velimir Mijailović, 78 / Olga Mijailović, 79 / Danica Stekić, 78 / Dragana Stekić, 50
Method of murder: Shooting (CZ-88 9mm pistol)
Location: Velika Ivanča, Mladenovac, Serbia
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day. Died from his injuries two days later

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Velika Ivanča shooting

A spree shooting occurred in the Serbian village of Velika Ivanča in the early hours of 9 April 2013. Fourteen people (including the gunman) died and one, the gunman's wife, was injured. Police identified the gunman as 60-year-old Ljubiša Bogdanović, a relative of many of the victims. Bogdanović died of his injuries on 11 April 2013. The massacre was the deadliest in the country since the end of the Yugoslav Wars.


At approximately 05:00 CEST (03:00 UTC), Bogdanović shot and killed his 83-year-old mother Dobrila and his 42-year-old son Branko, and wounded his wife Javorka with a shot to the head in their home. The gunman then entered four neighbouring houses, killing five men, five women, and a two-year-old child, most of whom were shot in the head while they were sleeping.

The weapon used was reported to be a CZ-88 9mm pistol. The spree ended when police arrived at the scene after a call from Javorka Bogdanović. They found Ljubiša Bogdanović in the backyard of his house. He attempted to commit suicide, shooting himself in the head.

Twelve of the victims died at the scene, and one victim died later that day at a Belgrade hospital. Bogdanović and his wife were taken to hospital, each in critical condition. Ljubiša Bogdanović died from his injuries two days later.


  • Ljubiša Bogdanović, 60, gunman

  • Branko Bogdanović, 42, son of Ljubiša Bogdanović

  • Dobrila Bogdanović, 83, mother of Ljubiša Bogdanović


  • Mihajlo Despotović, 61, cousin of Ljubiša Bogdanović

  • Milena Despotović, 61, wife of Mihajlo Despotović

  • Goran Despotović, 23, grandson of Mihajlo and Milena Despotović

  • Jovana Despotović, 21, wife of Goran Despotović

  • David Despotović, 2, son of Goran and Jovana Despotović


  • Ljubina Ješić, 64

  • Miloš Ješić, 48, son of Ljubina Ješić


  • Velimir Mijailović, 78

  • Olga Mijailović, 79, wife of Velimir Mijailović


  • Danica Stekić, 78

  • Dragana Stekić, 50, daughter of Danica Stekić, cousin of Ljubiša Bogdanović


Bogdanović was born in Velika Ivanča in 1953. His father committed suicide when he was a child, and he and his brother Radmilo were brought up by their grandfather Obrad, who was said to have been extremely strict and beat him when he made any mistakes. He was a Serb veteran of the Croatian War of Independence, having served for four and a half months, and had held a firearm permit since 1981. Bogdanović and his son Branko had been employees of a Slovenian wood-processing factory in Mladenovac until 2012 when both lost their jobs.

Some residents described Bogdanović as a "quiet guy". However, it was also said that he had a domestic violence history and had a dispute with his son about his relationship with a girl of whom Ljubiša Bogdanović did not approve.

Although Bogdanović was not known to have suffered from mental illness, his family had a history of such illness. Besides Bogdanović's father committing suicide, his cousin and uncle suffered from mental illnesses, the latter being treated and eventually dying in a mental institution.


A special meeting of the Serbian cabinet was called in response to the shooting. The government declared 10 April 2013 to be a day of mourning.


Serbian shooting spree suspect dies in hospital

Ljubisa Bogdanovic, the Serbian suspected of killing 13 people before turning gun on himself, has died in a Belgrade hospital

April 11, 2013

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

Belgrade Emergency hospital said Ljubisa Bogdanovic, 60, died from head wounds. His wife Javorka Bogdanovic, also 60, was recovering from surgery and in a stable condition.

Bogdanovic went on a pre-dawn house-to-house rampage on Tuesday, police said, killing his mother, his son and a two-year-old cousin in Velika Ivanca, 30 miles (50km) south-east of Belgrade.

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 feel better now that I know he passed away."

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

Residents of the village of Velika Ivanca 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 licence for the handgun he used.


Serbian shooting rampage: war veteran kills 13 relatives and neighbours

Mother and two-year-old child among the dead after man opened fire before turning gun on himself

By Kate Connolly -

April 9, 2013

A 60-year old former soldier, described as a "good man" and "decent neighbour", went on a killing spree in a Serbian village on Tuesday, killing 13 people including members of his family and fellow villagers.

A two-year-old child was among the victims of the deadliest murder rampage in Serbia in two decades in which the man, a veteran of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, shot most of his victims while they were sleeping.

The man shot and wounded himself before police restrained him. Doctors were said to be fighting to save his life in a nearby hospital.

A motive for the dawn attack, in which six men, six women and the toddler were killed after being shot in the head, was unclear, although there had been a history of mental illness in the man's family, according to one neighbour from the 12-house village of Velika Ivanca, which is perched on a hill and dotted with fruit trees, 25 miles south-west of Belgrade.

"We were all caught by surprise," Serbia's police chief, Milorad Veljovic, told reporters. "Most of the victims were shot while they slept.

"We've never had a tragedy on such a scale in Serbia and we must now find out what drove this man to kill so many people," he added.

He said that 12 people had been killed immediately while the 13th died on a hospital operating table.

Three others, including the killer, were being treated for life-threatening conditions, Veljovic said.

The government in Belgrade called a special cabinet session to discuss the incident, including how the country should mourn the dead.

The man, identified by the state television channel RTS as Ljubisa Bogdanovic, is thought to have killed his 42-year-old son first, before turning his handgun on his mother. He subsequently wounded his wife before searching for further victims. Police said his last victim the two-year-old.

Police apprehended the killer in the backyard of the last of the five houses where he carried out his attack. He tried to commit suicide after seeing a police car drive into the village, but survived, said Veljovic. The man was being treated for head injuries, he added.

Neighbours said Bogdanovic had been a "decent neighbour" and had not been inclined to violence. Milovan Konstantinovic told Reuters he had been a "good man".

"Everyone would open their doors to him," he said. "He helped everyone in the neighbourhood. Something must have snapped in his head.

"If they hadn't stopped him, he would probably have eliminated us all."

Another neighbour, Radovan Radosavljevic described how the man went from door to door in the village, raising sleeping residents from their beds.

"He knocked on the doors and as they were opened he just fired a shot," he said.

Like many in Serbia, where guns are widely available, the man held a firearms permit and carried out the killings with his own semi-automatic 9mm pistol.

While a forensic team was scouring the village for evidence, there was speculation that the man may have been suffering from the psychological effects of the 1991-1995 war in Croatia in which he served as a soldier for the Serbian army.

He and his son had also recently lost their jobs with a Slovenian firm in Serbia.

Psychologists have long spoken of the chronic impact of the war on the mental health of ordinary Serbs and note a spike in mental disorders since the war. A lack of sufficient healthcare provision to cope with illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression has only served to intensify the problems.



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