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Bosnian student kills teacher, wound another

Monday, April 29, 2002

Associated Press WriterVLASENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- A 17-year-old shot and killed one teacher and wounded another Monday before taking his own life in front of 30 other students. Bosnia's first school attack came three days after a deadly shooting spree at a German school.

The students ran screaming from the room after the teen-ager shot himself, leaving books and the wounded teacher in a pool of blood. Walls and benches were splattered with blood; bullets blew holes in the walls and shattered classroom windows.

Officials said the teen-ager, Dragoslav Petkovic, opened fire with his father's 7.65-mm handgun shortly after noon at his high school in the eastern town of Vlasenica, about 30 miles northeast of the capital, Sarajevo.

Bosnian Serb Interior Ministry spokesman Zoran Glusac said the 11th grader killed his history teacher, 53-year-old Stanimir Reljic, in front of the school, then walked inside and shot math teacher Saveta Mojsilovic as she stood at the blackboard in front of her class.

Petkovic, who was described by the principal as "quiet and sensitive," then put the gun to his head and killed himself.

The 50-year-old math teacher was being treated for her wounds at a hospital. Bosnian Serb radio said she was shot in the neck, but that her injuries did not appear life-threatening.

Police cordoned off the school with plastic tape, and students were sent home. Officials said school would remain closed until May 7.

The shooting was a first for Bosnia, where a 1992-95 war killed an estimated 200,000 people. On Friday, a 19-year-old student in Erfurt, Germany, killed 16 people and then himself in one of the world's worst school attacks.

Authorities and witnesses said Petkovic apparently waited outside the school for Reljic to come out. After shooting Reljic, the teen-ager went to the mathematics department, opened a classroom door and fired several shots at Mojsilovic. After she fell to the floor, he shot himself.

"He was a quiet, sensitive boy who was not a bad pupil," the school's principal, Dragoljub Zugic, told The Associated Press. "I don't understand why he did this."

The gunman's best friend, 17-year-old Ognjen Markovic, said they played basketball together Sunday night.

"We also talked, and he complained that the history teacher hated him and might not let him pass at the end of the year," Markovic said.

He said he thought little of the exchange until he heard about the shootings.

"When I came, I saw Dragoslav's body lying there," he said.

Weapons are easy to obtain in Bosnia, although their possession is illegal without the permission of local authorities and peacekeepers. Thousands of guns, as well as mortars, mines and hand-grenades, have remained in people's possession since the war.

The government has offered amnesty from prosecution if citizens hand over their weapons and ammunition voluntarily. People can turn in weapons to the NATO-led peace force that has been deployed in Bosnia since 1995.

Nearly 4,000 small arms and more than 1 million rounds of ammunition were gathered during 2001.


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