22 Dec 2023

15 dead, dozens hurt in Czech university shooting

PRAGUE: A devastating shooting unfolded at a Prague university in Czech Republic resulting in multiple casualties and numerous injuries, as reported by Czech authorities.

Reports indicate that at least 15 individuals lost their lives in the incident, with the alleged gunman identified as a student from the same university. The suspect, in his early 20s, reportedly killed his father in Hostoun approximately two hours before launching the attack on the university campus.

Law enforcement has confirmed the elimination of the assailant, and evacuations of individuals from the affected building are underway. Specific figures regarding the number of casualties and injuries have not been disclosed by the police.

In a post shared on social media platform X, Czech police stated, "The shooter has been eliminated!!! The entire building is currently being evacuated, with several fatalities and dozens injured."

Authorities have cordoned off the entire Jan Palach Square and its surroundings, urging citizens to avoid the immediate vicinity and stay indoors during ongoing police intervention.

The tragic incident occurred at the philosophy building of Charles University in central Prague, according to Czech police. In a statement on X, they urged citizens to remain vigilant and adhere to safety precautions as the police intervention continues.

Media images captured students exiting the building with raised hands, while some sought refuge on a ledge near the roof to evade the attacker.

Witnesses recall horror

Witness Petr Nedoma, director of the Rudolfinum Gallery, recounted seeing the assailant on a gallery with an automatic weapon, firing towards the Manes Bridge. He described the moment the shooter surrendered, putting his hands up and discarding the weapon on the street.

Ivo Havranek, another witness, initially mistook the sounds for tourist activities or a nearby film shoot before realizing the severity of the situation. Havranek shared his experience via Zoom, stating, "They shouted at me to run," upon seeing police officers with automatic rifles.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala altered his travel plans and headed to Prague, canceling his trip to the east of the country in response to the tragic event.

While gun crime is uncommon in the Czech Republic, this incident brings back memories of previous tragedies, such as the 2019 hospital shooting in Ostrava and the 2015 restaurant shooting in Uhersky Brod, underscoring the need for continued vigilance and preventive measures.

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