The man, identified by police as Ljubisa Bogdanovic, was a veteran of the 1990s Balkan wars. He also shot his wife before turning the gun on himself. Both were in critical condition in hospital, reports The Guardian. 

“Most of the victims were shot in the head as they slept,” police chief Milorad Veljovic told reporters in Velika Ivanca, about 25 miles (40km) south-west of Belgrade.

He said the victims were relatives and neighbours of the man: six men, six women and a child in five houses.

“We’ve never had such a tragedy in Serbia and we have to find out what drove this man to kill so many people as they slept,” said Veljovic. 

The motive for the killings, carried out with a semi-automatic 9mm pistol at dawn was not known.

Veljovic said Bogdanovic, born in 1953, had fought the 1991-95 war in Croatia during the collapse of federal Yugoslavia and had a firearms permit. He and his son had lost their jobs with a Slovenian firm in Serbia last year. The man’s father and uncle had both killed themselves several years ago. 

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