SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A man in Bosnia shot and killed his ex-wife while streaming the slaying live on Instagram and then killed two other people while on the run before taking his own life Friday, according to police and media reports.
The attack took place in the northeastern Bosnian town of Gradacac, where the assailant left three people wounded before he “committed suicide after being located and before being apprehended,” police in the city of Tuzla said in a statement.
Bosnia is still reeling from a bloody war in the 1990s and violence against women is widespread, but the ex-wife’s livestreamed slaying shocked people in the Balkan country.
Prosecutors said that after killing her, the man went onto the streets of Gradacac with a pistol and shot and killed a man and his son. He also wounded a police officer, another man and a woman at various locations in the town.
“I have no words to describe what happened today in Gradacac,” said Nermin Niksic, the prime minister of the Bosnian Federation. “The murderer took his own life in the end, but no one can bring back the lives of the victims.”
Authorities did not immediately offer possible motives for the shootings. Officials and Bosnian media said the ex-wife had reported threats and violence from her partner in the past and that the shooter, identified by local media as Gradacac resident Nermin Sulejmanovic, had a police record.
The man posted a video on Instagram on Friday morning, telling viewers that they would see a murder live. The video then shows him taking a gun and firing a bullet into a woman’s forehead as the cry of child is heard from somewhere nearby. The video later was removed from Instagram.
As police pursued the man, he livestreamed two more videos on Instagram, claiming to have shot at least two other people while on the run. Officials later said some 12,000 people watched the slaying live, and the video received 126 likes.
“This is a huge shame for our society,” Bosnian Human Rights Minister Sevid Hurtic said. Hurtic noted that 19 women were slaying victims in 2020 and 2021; Bosnia has a population of 3.2 million.
Bosnian media said Sulejmanovic, 35, was a bodybuilder and fitness coach with past arrests on charges of drug smuggling and attacking a police officer.
Police said people who wrote supportive messages while clicking on the man’s Instagram posts Friday would be questioned and could possibly face legal consequences.
The U.N.’s resident coordinator in Bosnia, Ingrid Macdonald, was among those expressing shock at the day’s events.
“The United Nations stands horrified by the fact that the murder of a female victim was livestreamed via a social network, which is one of the latest in a streak of femicide and severe cases of gender-based violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Macdonald said.
She insisted Friday’s violence could have been prevented and called for “immediate collective action” to curb violence against women.
“We call on the authorities to resolutely commit to eradicating this heinous crime, and urge the international community, governments, civil society, and individuals to join forces to prioritize the eradication of femicide,” Macdonald said.
Bosnia remains tense and ethnically divided long after a 1992-95 war that killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions.