On April 29, 2002, 17-year-old Dragoslav Petkovic opened fire with a handgun shortly
after noon at his high school in Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, killing
one teacher and wounding another before taking his own life.
Bosnia Student Kills Teacher and
The New York Times
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
A student in Bosnia shot and killed a teacher in his
high school today, wounded another and killed himself, the police said.
The shooting was the second in Europe within days. On
Friday, a former student at a school in Germany killed 16 teachers and
students and himself.
In a suicide note, the student, a Serb, explained how
he wanted to be buried but did not say whether he sought revenge in the
attack, or whether the German killings had influenced him, the
The police and students from Vlasenica High School,
in a poor town just northeast of Sarajevo, said the youth, identified as
Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, had walked into the schoolyard and killed a
history teacher, Stanimir Reljic, with a 7.65-millimeter handgun. Next,
he burst into a classroom, called out to the teacher, Saveta Mojsilovic,
and fired a bullet that grazed her neck. He then shot himself in the
Bosnian student kills teacher, takes own life
April 30, 2002
A high school student in eastern Bosnia shot and
killed one teacher and wounded another Monday before fatally shooting
himself in the country's first such school attack, police said.
The shooting happened shortly after noon in the
remote town of Vlasenica, about 30 miles northeast of the capital,
Sarajevo, in the Bosnian Serb part of the country.
Bosnian Serb Interior Ministry spokesman Zoran Glusac
identified the 17-year-old student only by his initials, D.P. The boy
was in the 11th grade.
He killed his history teacher, Stanimir Reljic, 53,
in front of the school, Glusac said. He then entered the school and shot
math teacher Saveta Mojsilovic, 50, who was being treated for her wounds
at a local hospital.
The student then put the gun to his head and killed
Bosnian Serb radio reported that the gunman, whom it
identified as Dragoslav Petkovic, used a 7.65-mm handgun and that he had
shot Reljic in the head and Mojsilovic in the neck. The radio report
said her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Police cordoned off the school with plastic tape, and
students were sent home for the day.
Investigators had no motive for the shooting, the
first of its kind ever in Bosnia, where a 1992-95 war killed an
estimated 200,000 people.
It happened three days after an expelled student in
Erfurt, Germany, killed 16 people and then himself in one of the world's
bloodiest school attacks. Expressing shock at the shooting, the Bosnian
Serb Ministry for Education appealed to all parents and teachers in the
country to teach children about violence and prevent another tragedy.
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,
remain in the people's possession after the war. The government has
offered amnesty from prosecution if citizens hand over their weapons and
ammunition up voluntarily. In an operation called Harvest, 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 over a million rounds of
ammunition were gathered during 2001 in the same operation. The weapons-collection
program began in 1998.
Bosnian Teenager Kills Teacher, Commits Suicide
April 30, 2002
One teacher was killed and another was wounded in an
unprecedented school shooting in Bosnia on Monday (29 April). The
shooter, a Bosnian Serb teenager, then shot and killed himself in front
of about 30 students. The incident took place three days after a school
shooting spree in Germany that left 17 dead, in addition to the teenaged
On Monday, Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, an 11th-grade
student in the small town of Vlasenica, went into the schoolyard and
killed his history teacher, Stanimir Reljic, 53, with a 7.65 mm handgun,
reportedly belonging to his father.
"He approached the professor who was standing outside
the school and shot him in the head," duty police officer Rodoljub
Petkovic then burst into a classroom on the first
floor and shot 50-year-old math teacher Saveta Mojsilovic. Students who
witnessed the incident told school principal Dragomir Zugic that
Petkovic, turning to leave, raised the gun to his head and shot himself.
Mojsilovic was taken to the hospital with "surface
injuries to the right side of her neck", which reportedly are not life
The letter Petkovic left is said to contain only
instructions as to how he wanted to be buried, but nothing about his
motives. The principal described him as a "quiet and sensitive" boy. A
police investigation is under way.
Petkovic's best friend, Ognjen Markovic, said the two
played basketball the night before the shooting. ''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.
Vlasenica is an impoverished town 50 km northeast of
Sarajevo. Seven years after the end of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia,
access to weapons and ammunition remains relatively easy, although
possession is subject to a special permit.
Although the government has promised not to prosecute
citizens who voluntarily hand over their weapons and ammunition, large
quantities of both are believed to remain in people's possession.
Three days after the Erfurt massacre, in a perfect
example of an "epidemic in isolation," a 17-year-old student in the
small, impoverished Bosnian town of Vlasenica, 30 miles northeast of
Sarajevo, shot to death a teacher, wounded another and then committed
Using his father's 7.65-mm handgun, Dragoslav
Petkovic shot and killed his history teacher, Stanimir Reljic, 53,
outside the St. Apostola Petra i Pavla School, then walked into a
classroom where -- in front of 30 students -- shot his 50-year-old math
teacher, Saveta Mojsilovic, wounding her superficially on the side of
the neck. Seconds later, the 11th grader put the gun to his head and
pulled the trigger as horrified students stampeded out of the classroom.
The day before the shooting, while playing
basketball, Petkovic told his best friend, 17-year-old Ognjen Markovic
that Reljic, the murdered teacher, disliked him and feared he would not
give him a passing grade. Witnesses said Petkovic approached Reljic
outside the school and asked him for another chance to improve his
grades. When the teacher refused, he opened fire.
"According to the teachers of the school and other
residents who knew him, the student who committed this murder was never
perceived as a person who was capable of doing such a thing," said
Ostoja Dragutinovic, the mayor of Vlasenica. "He was quiet and not such
a bad student." Dragomir Zugic, the school principal, described Petkovic
as "quiet and sensitive," and said the boy might have been influenced by
the Erfurt shooting.
"I'm begging my mother to forgive me, and I'm
thankful to her for everything she has given me. I'm thankful to my
father for all the good advice and to my older brother for the help he
always gave me," The suicidal teen wrote in a letter he left behind in
his room. In the note, he asked to be buried in Vlasenica and that his
belongings be distributed among his six best friends. The letter
concluded by saying, ominously: "People learn from their mistakes."
Profesor Stanimir Reljić
Vlasenica High School