After two mass shootings devastated the Balkan nation, families begin to hold funerals for the victims.
Heart-wrenching cries echoed as funerals were held in Serbia on Saturday for some of the victims of two mass shootings that happened just a day apart this week, leaving 17 people dead and 21 wounded, many of them children.
The shootings on Wednesday in a school in Belgrade and on Thursday in a rural area south of the capital city have left the nation stunned with grief and disbelief.
Experts have repeatedly warned against the danger posed by the number of weapons present across Serbia following the wars of the 1990s. However, there has never been a school shooting until last week.
Until Wednesday, the most recent mass shooting was in 2013 when a war veteran killed 13 people.
The school shooter was a 13-year-old boy who opened fire on his fellow students, killing seven girls, a boy and a school guard. A day later, a 20-year-old man fired randomly in two villages in central Serbia, killing eight people.
Thousands lit candles and left flowers near the shooting site in Belgrade, in an outpouring of sadness and solidarity.
A nation in mourning
Serbian media reported that four of the eight children killed in the school shooting, as well as the Vladislav Ribnikar school guard, would be buried at cemeteries in Belgrade on Saturday, the second day of a three-day mourning period for the victims.
Some 50 kilometres to the south, a mass funeral service was being held in the small village of Malo Orasje for five young men who were gunned down in the shooting rampage on Thursday evening.
Serbian police have said that the suspected shooter stopped a taxi after his rampage and made the driver take him to a village further south, where he was arrested on Friday. Officers later said they found weapons and ammunition in two houses he was using there.
The suspect, identified as Uros Blazic, was questioned by prosecutors in the central town of Smederevo on Saturday, state media reported. He faces charges of first-degree murder and unauthorized possession of guns and ammunition.
The motive for both shootings remained unclear. The 13-year-old boy, who is too young to be criminally charged, has been placed in a mental clinic. His father was arrested for allegedly teaching his son to use guns and not securing his weapons well enough.
While the country struggled to come to terms with what happened, authorities promised a crackdown on firearms and said they would boost security in schools.
Furthermore, officials have announced stepped-up monitoring of social networks and the media. Already by Saturday, several people had been questioned for posting threats or videos supporting the killers on social networks, the Tanjug news agency reported.