Prague was stunned and mourning on Friday following the tragic shooting of the gunman killed 14 people and wounded 25 others on the campus of Charles University, the deadliest peaceful attack ever recorded in Czech Republic. Czech Republic.
The horrific shooting Thursday also marked the first ever school or college shooter in Czech Republic, leaving the country as well as its top officials shocked.
Prague which was a beautiful winter wonderland only a few hours prior, was sad and empty on a Friday morning. A impromptu memorial of candlelight and floral tributes was set up in the historical campus of the university with visitors arriving to pay their respects early in the day, despite the rain and snow.
Speaking to all the people of America on Thursday Czech Prim Minister Petr Fiala described the shooting as “a senseless attack” and stated that “this Christmas will be unimaginably sad.”
“Like many of you, I am feeling a deep sorrow and disgust over this incomprehensible and brutal violence,” Fiala declared. Czech Presidency Petr Pavel admitted to feeling “deep sadness and also helpless anger over the loss of so many young lives.”
Pope Francis, meanwhile, stated that the pope felt “deeply saddened” to learn of the shooting incident, according to the Vatican statement issued on Friday.
“His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his spiritual closeness to all affected by this tragedy,” the statement reads.Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images
In a press conference on Friday, Prague police chief Petr Matejcek confirmed that the shooter was a man aged 24 who was an undergraduate student at the university who committed suicide. Police haven’t yet identified the suspect.
“I visited the scene of the attack, and I was shocked and shaken. And I’ve been in the police force for more than 40 years,” Matejcek told reporters.
“When I saw the amount of ammunition, the weapons that he brought, what he was prepared for, I can only thank my officers for their quick action — they prevented many more deaths.”
At a news gathering on the Friday of last week, Czech police chief Martin Vondrasek added that, being an officer for over 35 years, he’d “never seen anything as horrifying” as the massacre in the university of Charles University in Prague that killed 14 people and left 25 others wounded.
He claimed 13 people were killed on the spot and one person died after being transferred to a hospital.
Vondrasek stated it was reported that Czech police have begun regular and continuous training for active shooter scenarios in the wake of the terror attacks of 2011 in Norway.
“That was the moment we realised this kind of thing can happen anywhere,” he added. “I can assure you that not a week passes without an active shooter training somewhere in the Czech Republic,” he added.
Vondrasek He praised the quick intervention of the police as well as other emergency services which, he believes, helped save a lot of lives.
The Interior Minister of the country, Vit Rakusan, made an emotional appeal to Czech people to obtain help for their mental health and to not disseminate false information as a result of the shooting.
“Please get help. There are a lot of resources. There are many resources. Czech National Institute for Mental Health provides a variety of documents, such as instructions for what to do in crisis. “This is an emergency,” Rakusan told a news conference.
“There there is nothing wrong with seeking assistance. There’s absolutely no excuse for seeking help from professionals. Do not be afraid to ask for help,” he added.
Rakusan has also pleaded with media and the public not to release details about the gunman as well as details about the shooting, noting that international experience suggests this could result in duplicate attacks.
“Do not allow the perpetrator to get what he would like. Don’t give him publicity, and don’t give anyone the chance to be in awe of this crime,” he said.
Authorities in Czech Republic say they have increased security throughout the country in the wake of the tragic incident.
“We have adopted nationwide precautionary measures in relation to schools and other soft targets,” police stated in a statement issued on Friday, stating that they have no information regarding any specific threat.
The area surrounding the building is a favorite among tourists, and is located near the main places of interest. It is located over the Vltava River from Prague Castle and just five minutes walk to Prague’s Old Town Square where Prague’s famous Christmas Markets were taking place. The old Jewish Quarter is within a couple of hundred meters from the structure.
Authorities are still looking into the motive behind the riot that occurred at the Faculty of Arts building of Charles University. The building is known as in Czech in Czech as”the Faculty of Philosophy, the college is one of the first colleges to be established in the beginning of the university’s establishment in 1348. The subjects include philosophy, history and art theory as well as languages are taught at the school.
Police stated that, as of the midday of Friday all 14 victims were identified.
The Department of Musicology at the school announced that its director Lenka Hlavkova was one of those killed in the incident. Hlavkova was a well-known specialist in the music culture of the medieval period in central Europe and the department stated that her passing had been “extremely cruel” news.
Lidove Noviny, a Czech national daily newspaper, stated in an announcement that one of the employees of its company, who was a proofreader as well as an uni year student of Czech as well as Deaf study Lucie Spindlerova was killed during the incident.
A photo from Spindlerova that was published in the paper shows a smiling, young woman wearing a large cap and wearing a bouquet of flowers.
The newspaper reported that Spindlerova is “a colleague and, most importantly, a friend” and said her death had been “extremely painful news.”
The identities of additional victims haven’t been released publicly.
A spokesperson from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said to CNN the following day that 3 foreigners were injured during the incident – two UAE nationals as well as the third Dutch citizen.
The way the shooting took place
The police chief claimed authorities had evidence about the man who shot before the university shootings, stating that police were given an information tip that the shooter was heading to Prague from Hostoun, his home village Hostoun. Hostoun with the intent of commit suicide.
Then, police were informed that an individual thought to be the father of the gunman was discovered to be dead at Hostoun.
Vondrasek claimed the police were aware that the shooter was taking a class on Tuesday at 2.30 p.m. in the local time, and was forced to evacuate the location in which the lecture was scheduled to be held. However, the authorities hadthen were notified of an incident in a different building according to the chief of police.
Czech police released on Friday body camera footage from the aftermath of the mass shooting. It shows officers searching for victims in corridors and removing people from building. The footage is also a glimpse inside the class in which the bodies of many victims were discovered.
Czech authorities are investigating a possible theory the gunman may be linked to a double homicide that occurred in Klanovice in an Prague suburb last week, when the man and the two-month-old child were found dead in the woods. On Friday, police chiefs stated that it was believed as “extremely likely.”
The Czech Republic has relatively liberal gun laws in comparison to the other countries in the European Union, but gun attacks are not common. To legally purchase a firearm one must have an official license to carry a firearm and medical exam as well as a gun proficiency test and no criminal history.
Rakusan claimed that reforms to make the laws on guns more strict are currently being discussed in the Parliament and the legislative process began prior to the shooting incident on Thursday.
The new law will enable police to take guns away by relying on information regarding possible dangers, Rakusan said. It also makes it an obligation for gun sellers to disclose any unusual purchases made by weapons that include purchases of a large quantities of ammunition.
According to current Czech laws it is mandatory to obtain a firearm license required to possess a firearm legally. To obtain a license, one must pass a proficiency test for firearms as well as a medical examination.
Rakusan stated that, under the proposed reforms the medical examination will be more thorough and includes an evaluation of psychological health. Only those who have a clean criminal history have the right to obtain a license. A total of 300,000 in the nation of 10 million own the license to carry a firearm according to statistics from the police.
According to official statistics from the police over 300,000 people possess a valid permit to possess a firearm. In 2022, nearly 1 million guns owned legally were registered legally within the Czech Republic.