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Gunman kills 14 and wounds 25 in shooting at Prague university

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PRAGUE — A lone gunman opened fire Thursday in a university building in downtown Prague, ‌killing at least 14 people and injuring more than 20 in the Czech Republic’s ⁣worst mass shooting, police and the city’s rescue service said.

The bloodshed took place in ‌the⁤ philosophy department building of​ Charles University, where the shooter was a student, Prague ⁤Police⁢ Chief ⁤Martin Vondrasek said. The gunman also died, authorities said. His name⁤ has not been released.

Vondrasek said in the evening ‍that⁣ 14 people had ⁤died and 25 were injured, after earlier reporting that 15 had died and 24 were hurt. He didn’t explain the change. ‍Authorities warned that⁤ the⁣ death toll could rise.

Police gave no details about the victims or a possible motive for the shooting at the building located near the Vltava ‌River in Jan Palach Square.⁣ Czech Interior Minister ⁤Vit Rakusan said investigators do not suspect a link to any extremist ​ideology or groups.

Vondrasek said police believe the gunman killed his father earlier Thursday ​in his hometown of Hostoun, just west of Prague, and that he had also been planning to⁢ kill himself.⁣ He didn’t elaborate.

Later Thursday, Vondrasek said that based on a search⁣ of his home, the gunman was also suspected in ⁤the killing of another man and his 2-month-old daughter⁢ Dec. 15, in the⁣ east of​ Prague.

The chief described the shooter ⁣as an excellent student with⁣ no criminal record,‌ but he‌ didn’t provide ‍any other ‍information.

The ⁢gunman suffered “devastating injuries,” but it wasn’t clear if‍ he ⁤killed himself or‍ was⁤ shot to death in an exchange of gunfire with officers, Vondrasek said, adding ⁣that there was “nothing to suggest that he ⁤had an⁢ accomplice.”

The shooter⁣ legally owned several‍ guns — police said he was heavily armed Thursday and was carrying a lot of ammunition — and that what he did was “well thought out, a horrible act,” Vondrasek said.

University authorities said⁣ they would tighten security in university buildings with immediate effect.

“We mourn the loss ‍of life ⁢of members ‍of our university community, express ‌our deepest condolences to all ​the bereaved and our thoughts are with all those⁢ affected by the tragedy,” Charles University ⁣said in a statement.

The building where the ​shooting ‌took⁤ place is near ⁣the Vltava River⁢ in Jan ‍Palach Square, a busy tourist area in Prague’s Old⁤ Town. It is just a few minutes’ walk from the picturesque Old Town Square, a major tourist attraction where a popular Christmas market attracts thousands of visitors.

The government quickly‌ sought to quell concerns that the massacre⁢ was backed by foreign interests.

“There’s no ​indication that it has anything to do with‌ international terrorism,” Rakusan said.

“It’s a horrible crime, something the Czech Republic has never experienced,” he said.

Pavel Nedoma, the director of the nearby Rudolfinum Gallery, said he ​watched from a‌ window ‍as a person standing on a balcony of the building fired ​a ⁢gun.

Authorities evacuated everyone from the building, and police said they were still searching the area, including the balcony, for explosives.

The ⁤building forms part of⁢ the square and‌ faces a bridge across the river with a view of Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech presidency. President Petr Pavel said he was “shocked” by what ‌happened and offered his condolences ​to‌ the relatives of the victims, as ⁤did ⁤leaders of Germany, France and Slovakia, the European Union and Israel.

White House press secretary‍ Karine Jean-Pierre sent​ a message of condolence.

“The president ⁢and the first lady are praying for the families ‌who lost loved ones and everyone else who has been affected by this senseless⁤ act of violence,” Jean-Pierre said. “On behalf of the‍ United States, we ‍send our condolences and also wish‍ the survivors of this tragic event a speedy recovery.”

The⁤ Czech government planned to meet later Thursday for an emergency session to discuss the shooting.


It’s a horrible crime, something the Czech‍ Republic has never experienced.

– Vit ⁤Rakusan, Czech Interior minister


Previously,‌ the nation’s‌ worst mass shooting was in 2015, when a gunman opened fire in the southeastern town of Uhersky Brod, killing eight before fatally shooting himself.

On ⁤Thursday,⁤ where​ tourists, students and others would normally​ be enjoying the view of the iconic monument,⁣ chaos and terror instead took hold. Police ⁤vehicles and ambulances sped across the bridge with their sirens ​wailing. Officers⁢ sealed off the empty square.

Some video footage‌ showed people being evacuated from the building ⁢and others trying to ‍hide behind a wall.

Ivo Havranek, a diving instructor, said he⁣ was ​near the building ⁣when he⁤ heard a shot ring out, ⁣but he didn’t quite believe that was what he had heard.

“Only at the moment when I saw the fully-equipped riot police with bulletproof vests and shields, it looked to me ‌that ⁤I had found myself in a movie,” Havranek said. “But‌ it was obvious that nobody was shooting a movie.”

As the⁣ city of Prague mourns the tragic loss of life, ​the community is coming together to support the victims and their families. The incident has left a deep scar on the city, but‌ the resilience and strength of the people of Prague will prevail in the face of this senseless act of violence.

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Truth Media Network
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