Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Czech police search motive after Prague mass taking pictures

BERLIN — Czech police on Friday have been investigating why a 24-year-old pupil killed 14 individuals and wounded 25 others within the nation’s worst such taking pictures in fashionable historical past.

The gunman’s physique was discovered “immobile” shortly after the taking pictures spree, after what police say was doubtless suicide. The likelihood that he was killed by police who returned hearth can also be being investigated.

Among the many wounded are three foreigners — two from Saudi Arabia and one from the Netherlands. The college the place the assault occurred, Charles College, was based in 1348 and is Czech Republic’s oldest and most prestigious faculty. It’s vastly widespread with international change college students, together with People.

Citing unconfirmed data from social media, Czech police head Martin Vondrasek stated the gunman was impressed by a “comparable case that occurred in Russia.” Earlier this month, a Russian teen shot and killed a fellow pupil earlier than taking pictures herself within the metropolis of Bryansk. Czech Inside Minister Vít Rakušan stated investigators don’t suspect a hyperlink to any extremist ideology or teams or worldwide terrorism.

Police recognized the shooter as “David Okay.” Native media reported his full identify is David Kozak.

Authorities acquired a tip off earlier on Thursday that the suspect, who had no felony report, had left for Prague from his city within the close by Kladno area “saying he wished to kill himself.” His father was discovered lifeless quickly after.

Following the tip off, police searched a School of Arts constructing the place the gunman was anticipated to indicate up for a lecture. As an alternative, he went to the school’s most important constructing close by the place pictures have been fired at round 3 p.m. native time on Thursday. The gunman had a “big arsenal of weapons and ammunition,” police stated.

Movies posted by witnesses on social media confirmed locals and vacationers working from the realm. The constructing the place the taking pictures occurred is in Jan Palach Sq., a busy vacationer space in Prague’s Previous City, named after a Czech pupil who died from self-immolation protesting Soviet occupation in 1968. Whereas college students and college employees barricaded themselves into rooms others have been seen fleeing by means of home windows earlier than precariously sheltering on the sides of the constructing.

Police stated late Thursday they they consider the gunman killed a younger man and his two-month-old daughter in a stroller in a forest on the outskirts of Prague on Dec. 15, a case that has gripped the nation during the last week.

Early Friday, as individuals lit candles at an impromptu vigil, the federal government declared a nationwide day of mourning on Dec. 23. Flags on official buildings might be flown at half-staff and a minute’s silence might be noticed at midday.

Police stepped up safety at colleges and different “smooth targets” Friday as a safety measure, whereas Charles College cancelled all lectures and occasions.

The taking pictures led to an outpour of condolences from world leaders. “The president and the primary girl are praying for the households who misplaced family members and everybody else who has been affected by this mindless act of violence,” White Home spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre instructed reporters. “Federal authorities are in contact with Czech authorities as they examine this incident.”

Regardless of having extra permissive gun legal guidelines than most of its European neighbors — even permitting hid carry with a allow — the Czech Republic requires residents to take strict assessments earlier than with the ability to receive weapons.

Mass killings are uncommon however not unparalleled. In 2019, a gunman killed six individuals at a Czech hospital within the metropolis of Ostrava earlier than turning the gun on himself. 4 years earlier, a gunman shot eight individuals and himself within the city of Uhersky Brod.

De Vynck reported from Brussels.

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