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PRAGUE — The Czech authorities has declared December 23 a nationwide day of mourning for 14 individuals killed by a 24-year-old scholar who reportedly posted disturbing messages on-line earlier than the assault and may need been impressed by a college taking pictures in Russia two weeks in the past.

The taking pictures at Charles College in central Prague additionally wounded 25 individuals, together with 10 critically. It was the nation’s worst mass taking pictures and one of many worst on report in Europe.

“The Czech Republic has by no means skilled such an act,” Czech Inside Minister Vit Rakusan stated shortly after the taking pictures on December 21, including that there was no indication that the taking pictures had any reference to worldwide terrorism.

Police chief Martin Vondrasek stated shooter, who has not been formally recognized, most certainly died by suicide. It was not clear whether or not his demise was included within the demise toll of 14.

“I used to be on the scene of a horrific crime a second in the past, I noticed an enormous arsenal of weapons and ammunition within the school constructing,” the police chief stated. “If it weren’t for the short intervention of the police, there would have been many instances extra victims.”

Vondrasek stated police imagine the shooter killed his father in his hometown of Hostoun west of Prague earlier within the day, and that he had additionally been planning to kill himself.

He added that police are investigating whether or not the shooter, a authorized gun proprietor, is similar assailant who killed a 32-year-old man and his 2-month-old daughter on December 15 in a park in Prague.

Czech media reported that earlier than the taking pictures on the college the shooter posted messages on Telegram citing a college taking pictures within the Russian metropolis of Bryansk on December 7 through which a 14-year-old Russian lady opened fireplace with a shotgun on her classmates, killing a 13-year-old lady and wounding a number of others earlier than turning the gun on herself and committing suicide.

The stories say that police at the moment are trying into his social media posts, together with one other one through which he stated he hated the world and needed to go away as a lot ache in it as attainable.

“Everybody simply hated me, hates me and can hate me. I do not care as a result of it is mutual,” he stated in a submit on Telegram, in response to Czech media.

Mass shootings are uncommon in Europe, however there have been a minimum of three others this yr. A gunman in March within the German metropolis of Hamburg shot lifeless six individuals and wounded eight earlier than killing himself.

The opposite two befell in Serbia in a single week in Might. A 13-year-old boy gunned down eight fellow college students and a safety guard in a Belgrade faculty. Two days later, a gunman killed eight individuals and wounded 14 others in a village close to the Serbian capital.

Reactions to the Prague taking pictures got here from different European capitals and from the pinnacle of RFE/RL, whose headquarters is in Prague about 6 kilometers from Charles College.

“RFE/RL joins with our neighborhood in Prague in expressing solidarity with all affected by in the present day’s surprising occasions at Charles College,” performing President Jeffrey Gedmin stated in a press release.

Czech President Petr Pavel stated he was “shocked” by what occurred and provided his condolences to the family of the victims, as did leaders of Germany, France, Slovakia, the European Union, and Israel.

The White Home stated america is able to assist the Czech Republic as wanted.

“Federal authorities are in contact with Czech authorities as they examine this incident, and we stand prepared to supply extra assist as wanted,” White Home Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy additionally reacted with shock and unhappiness.

“I specific my honest condolences to the households of the victims and want the injured a speedy restoration, he stated on X, previously Twitter.

The taking pictures befell within the philosophy division constructing of Charles College’s School of Arts positioned on Jan Palach Sq., inflicting panic all through the middle of Prague.

A photograph that circulated on social media confirmed a bunch of eight college students who climbed via home windows to cover on a ledge of the constructing about 5 tales up.

A instructor on the college, Sergei Medvedev, confirmed to RFE/RL that lecturers and college students obtained e-mail messages instructing them to remain barricaded of their school rooms and switch off lights to guard themselves from the shooter, who was contained in the constructing on the time.

Medvedev stated he was lecturing when he and his college students started listening to individuals shouting and sirens. After they regarded out the window and noticed streets cordoned off and the bridge empty, they barricaded themselves within the classroom till particular forces arrived.

All the scholars who had been with him obtained out safely, he stated, however on their method out they noticed a “horrible” scene that included blood within the stairway and stretchers that appeared to have our bodies on them.

“We didn’t know what was taking place…and the way it was going to finish,” scholar Liza Chukharova instructed Present Time, describing how she and fellow college students barricaded themselves of their classroom for 40 minutes till particular forces got here and instructed them to stroll out with their palms raised.

“There was an excessive amount of blood in all places and stretchers round,” she stated, including that emergency workers had been available to supply psychological assist to those that wanted it together with tea and metallic covers to heat themselves.

“They’re saying that every thing goes to be all proper,” she stated.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Present Time, Dnes, and Reflex



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