A 60-year-old man gunned down 13 people, including a baby, in a house-to-house rampage in a quiet village on Tuesday before trying to kill himself and his wife, police and hospital officials said.
Belgrade emergency hospital spokeswoman Nada Macura said the man, identified only as Ljubisa B., used a handgun in the shooting spree at five houses. The dead included six women.
Residents of the village of Velika Ivanca, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Belgrade, described the suspect as a nice and quiet man.
"He knocked on the doors, and as they were opened he just fired a shot," said local villager Radovan Radosavljevic. "He was a good neighbor and anyone would open their doors to him. I don't know what happened."
Serbian police chief Milorad Veljovic said 12 people were killed on the spot, while one person died in a Belgrade hospital. Veljovic said the motive for the killings was not clear, but said the suspect lost his job last year, and fought as a Serb soldier in the war in Croatia in 1992.
Although such apparently random shootings are rare in Serbia, weapons are readily available mostly from the war in the Balkans in the 1990s and there is a tradition of possessing firearms. Initial reports said the suspect had a license for the handgun used in the shootings.
The killings happened between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.
"We are all caught by surprise," Veljovic told reporters. "Most of the victims were shot while asleep."
Macura said that the man finally shot himself and his wife, who both were severely injured. Another person was also injured. The man had no history of mental illness, Macura added.
Police blocked off the village while they investigated.
The last similar shooting spree happened in Serbia in 2007 when a 39-year-old man gunned down nine people and injured two in a village in the east of the country.