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22 June 2024

Gunman kills teen, wounds two at Bulgarian orphanage

By Agencies

A gunman shot dead a 15-year-old girl and wounded two other children at a Bulgarian orphanage on Wednesday before killing himself, police said.

The 67-year-old killer had been investigated over alleged sexual abuse of one of the wounded children, a police official said. The dead girl had been summoned as a witness in the case.

Police denied media reports the man was a former supervisor who was fired from the care home for orphans and abandoned children in Tran, a town 90km west of Sofia.

Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said he had ordered a review of the legislation on orphanages and care homes to tighten controls and improve conditions.

"There is a serious problem," Stanishev told reporters.

Care homes have been in the spotlight in the European Union newcomer country since a BBC documentary last September showed the distressing story of an institution for disabled children, which embarrassed the government and shocked people.

The 75 unwanted children in the village of Mogilino were shown living in poor conditions, effectively incarcerated, and left alone at night. Many were never taught to speak, others resembled skeletons due to malnutrition.

In January, police arrested a man in whose house they had found pornographic photos featuring children from the care home in the south-western town of Dupnitsa.

Critics say authorities have done little to improve conditions in care homes since the collapse of communism and many abandoned and mentally ill in Bulgaria continue to live in appalling conditions. (Reuters)