In Prague, fourteen dead in a killing at a university, unrelated to “international terrorism”

An armed man killed fourteen people on Thursday December 21 afternoon at the prestigious Charles University in Prague, before being found dead on the spot

In Prague, fourteen dead in a killing at a university, unrelated to “international terrorism”

An armed man killed fourteen people on Thursday December 21 afternoon at the prestigious Charles University in Prague, before being found dead on the spot. Revising downwards his previous toll of fifteen deaths, the police chief, Martin Vondrasek, declared to the press that he could “confirm that there were fourteen victims of this horrible crime and twenty-five injured, ten of them seriously.” .

During a joint press conference, Vondrasek and Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said they suspected the perpetrator of the killings of being responsible for the deaths of two other people last week in the Klanovicky forest, near Prague. The shooter was not known to the police, and could, according to them, have chosen his victims at random. “There is no indication that this crime is linked to international terrorism,” Mr. Rakusan had clarified earlier.

A large number of weapons were found in the university building where the killing took place, the Minister of the Interior also specified. “There could have been dozens of victims if the police had not quickly intervened,” he added. The reasons why the killer took action are not yet clear. Vondrasek said earlier Thursday the 24-year-old attacker was studying at Charles University's arts faculty. He added that the suspect also allegedly killed his father on the same day, in the village of Hostoun, west of the Czech capital, and that he was wanted even before the shooting. The shooter “left for Prague saying he wanted to kill himself,” Vondrasek said.

The police first searched the building of the Faculty of Arts where the murderer was to attend a class, but the latter went to another building, located nearby, and the police did not find him in time . The interior minister told public television that the presence of “no other shooters” had been confirmed. The killing took place in the historic center of the capital and provoked a massive intervention by the heavily armed police, evacuations and warnings inviting the population to stay indoors.

“Tragedy of unprecedented proportions”

The Czech president declared himself “shocked” by the deadly shooting. “I would like to express my deep regret and sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the shooting,” Petr Pavel, who ends a two-day visit to Paris on Thursday, said on X. The Prime Minister, Petr Fiala, announced that he was canceling his commitments for the day to return to Prague.

" I have no words. All I feel right now is sadness,” wrote Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, describing a “tragedy of unprecedented proportions”: “It is appalling to see how many innocent lives have been destroyed . » Police closed the area and asked people living nearby to stay home.

“Great emotion upon learning that Charles University in Prague was the target of a deadly shooting,” reacted Emmanuel Macron, expressing his “solidarity with the victims, the injured and their loved ones, as well as with the people and the Czech authorities”. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said for her part, on X, "shocked by the senseless violence of the shooting which cost several lives today in Prague".