At least 15 people died as a result of the shooting that took place on the premises of Charles University in the center of Prague, said the head of the Czech police, Martin Vondraszek. He said that the attacker had most likely shot his father earlier in his hometown. He allegedly told witnesses that he was “going to Prague to take his own life.” The police are also investigating whether an attacker from the university killed a young man and his child in a forest on the outskirts of Prague six days ago.
According to Vondraszek, after receiving such information and checking that the perpetrator was going to have classes in one of the buildings of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Prague, the police went to the site and evacuated the employees and students there. Later, reports were received of a shooting in another department building.
Vondraszek said that at least 15 people died and the perpetrator’s body was found on the building’s ledge. The police chief did not specify whether the perpetrator died from the officers’ shots or committed suicide, but only confirmed that the policemen used their service weapons.
Several dozen injured
An earlier statement regarding the death toll from the shooting in Prague said there were 11 victims. The rescue services in Prague also reported that “the condition of nine people is serious, five to six people suffered moderate injuries, ten people were slightly injured.”
After 3 p.m. local time, the Czech police reported that a shooting had taken place at Jan Palach Square. “Based on preliminary information, we can confirm that there are fatalities and injuries at the site,” she said on the X platform (formerly Twitter). She appealed to residents not to stay nearby and not to leave the buildings.
Shooting perpetrator ‘eliminated’
A later police post said that “the attacker had been eliminated” and that “the entire building was being evacuated.”
Employees of the Faculty of Philosophy allegedly received an e-mail with instructions to “stay where they are and close the doors,” Reuters reported. “Stay where you are, don’t go anywhere. If you are in your office, lock it, place the furniture in front of the door and turn off the light,” they were instructed.
Witnesses to the event – as reported by the tv.cz portal – wrote on social media that shots were fired both outside and inside the building. The shooter was supposed to be moving around on the fourth floor and on the roof. “Some people climbed out of the windows and clung to the windowsills, others escaped to the roof, still others barricaded themselves,” TVP reported.
Polish journalist in Prague: we are shocked
– We are shocked. Information about what happened is only just being made public, Barbara Sierszuła, a Polish journalist living in Prague, reported in an interview with TVN24. As she said, one of the witnesses of the event told on local television that “a killer with a machine gun was standing on a construction ledge and was simply shooting at people.” According to Sierszuła, the Minister of Internal Affairs calls for calm and appeals to leave the area. She added that there was a lot of police everywhere. – This is a big shock. It is not known who the shooter was or why he started behaving this way, she said. She added that it was not known whether he acted alone.
Czech media journalist: the shooting took place in the very center of the city
– It is known that this shooting took place shortly after 3 p.m. at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Charles University at Jan Palach Square. It is between the Charles and Józef Manes bridges, opposite the oldest Czech concert hall, the Rudolfinum, also in the very center of the city – reported Miroslav Karas, a journalist of the Czech media, in an interview with TVN24. As he said, at 3 p.m. the police received information that there was an armed attacker on the fourth floor of the university. – The evacuation is still going on, students are locked in the Faculty of Philosophy, barricaded in some rooms, the police are still taking them outside. I don’t remember when there were so many police on site in Prague, said the journalist.
As he added, “it is also known that the man who shot is dead, according to some information he threw the gun, which fell on the sidewalk in front of the Faculty of Philosophy, and allegedly jumped from the fourth floor, but this information is not confirmed.” The TVN24 interlocutor said that psychologists were also on site. – The police confirmed a few minutes ago that (the attacker – ed.) was alone. The building is still being searched, Karas added.
“I am shocked by the events at the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University. I would like to express my deep regret and sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims,” wrote Petr Pavel, Czech president, on the X platform. I want to thank citizens for respecting the instructions of the security forces and ensuring maximum cooperation,” he added.
Vondraszek: the attacker could have murdered a man and a child earlier
Martiv Vondraszek said that the Czech police are also considering the possibility that the perpetrator of Thursday’s shooting at the university may have previously murdered a man and a child.
The head of the Czech police explained that it was about a murder six days ago, which took place in a forest on the outskirts of Prague, where a 32-year-old man and his 2-month-old daughter were shot.
According to Vondraszek, in the building of the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University there was a huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition and if it had not been for the quick intervention of the police, there could have been more victims.
Reuters, tn.cz, tvn24.pl, PAP
Main photo source: MARTIN DIVISEK/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK