A gunman shot dead 13 people in an early-morning rampage through a small Serbian village southwest of the capital Belgrade.

Those killed included the gunman's mother and son, as well as a two-year-old child.

The man, identified by police as Ljubisa Bogdanovic, a war veteran born in 1953, also shot his wife before turning the gun on himself.

Both are in critical condition in hospital, police said.

Head of Serbia’s Interior Ministry Milorad Veljovic said most of the victims were shot in the head as they slept.

The shootings occurred in the village of Velika Ivanca, about 40km southwest of Belgrade.

"They were killed in five houses, mainly relatives and neighbours," Mr Veljovic said.

Police said the motive for the killings, carried out with a semi-automatic 9mm pistol shortly after 5am (3am Irish time) is not known.

Mr Veljovic said the gunman had fought in a 1991-95 war in Croatia and had a firearms permit.

He and his son had been made redundant last year.

In 2007, a gunman in the eastern Serbian village of Jabukovac killed nine people and wounded two.