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Saturday, February 24, 2024

International nationals amongst 14 killed after gunman opens fireplace in a Prague college. Over 20 wounded

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PRAGUE — International nationals had been amongst a minimum of 14 killed after a pupil opened fireplace at a college in Prague, authorities stated Friday. Greater than 20 others had been additionally wounded in one of many Czech Republic’s worst mass shootings.

The bloodshed passed off on Thursday within the philosophy division constructing of Charles College, the place the shooter was a pupil, Prague Police Chief Martin Vondrasek stated. The gunman additionally died, authorities stated. His title has not been launched.

Vondrasek stated within the night that 14 individuals had died and 25 had been wounded, after earlier reporting that 15 had died and 24 had been damage. He didn’t clarify the change. Authorities warned that the demise toll may rise.

Police gave no particulars in regards to the victims or a potential motive for the capturing on the constructing positioned close to the Vltava River in Jan Palach Sq.. Czech Inside Minister Vit Rakusan stated investigators don’t suspect a hyperlink to any extremist ideology or teams.

Vondrasek stated police consider the gunman killed his father earlier Thursday in his hometown of Hostoun, simply west of Prague, and that he had additionally been planning to kill himself. He didn’t elaborate.

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Later Thursday, Vondrasek stated that based mostly on a search of his house, the gunman was additionally suspected within the killing of one other man and his 2-month-old daughter Dec. 15, in Prague.

The chief described the shooter as a wonderful pupil with no prison file, however didn’t present every other data.

The gunman suffered “devastating accidents” nevertheless it wasn’t clear if he killed himself or was shot to demise in an trade of gunfire with officers, Vondrasek stated, including that there was “nothing to recommend that he had an confederate.”

The shooter legally owned a number of weapons — police stated he was closely armed Thursday and was carrying a whole lot of ammunition — and that what he did was “properly thought out, a horrible act,” Vondrasek stated.

College authorities stated they’d tighten safety in college buildings with instant impact.

“We mourn the lack of lifetime of members of our college group, specific our deepest condolences to all of the bereaved and our ideas are with all these affected by the tragedy,” Charles College stated in an announcement.

The constructing the place the capturing passed off is in Jan Palach Sq., a busy vacationer space in Prague’s {Old} City. It’s just some minutes’ stroll from the picturesque {Old} City Sq., a serious vacationer attraction the place a well-liked Christmas market attracts hundreds of holiday makers.

The federal government rapidly sought to quell issues that the bloodbath was again by international pursuits.

“There’s no indication that it has something to do with worldwide terrorism,” Rakusan stated.

“It’s a horrible crime, one thing the Czech Republic has by no means skilled,” he stated.

Pavel Nedoma, the director of the close by Rudolfinum Gallery, stated he watched from a window as an individual standing on a balcony of the constructing fired a gun.

Authorities evacuated everybody from the constructing and police stated they had been nonetheless looking the world, together with the balcony, for explosives.

The constructing types a part of the sq. and faces a bridge throughout the river with a view of Prague Fortress, the seat of the Czech presidency. President Petr Pavel stated he was “shocked” by what occurred and supplied his condolences to the kinfolk of the victims, as did leaders of Germany, France and Slovakia, the European Union and Israel.

White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre despatched a message of condolence.

“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,” Jean-Pierre stated. “On behalf of the US, we ship our condolences and likewise want the survivors of this tragic occasion a speedy restoration.”

The Czech authorities declared Saturday a nationwide day of mourning to honor the capturing victims, Prime Minister Petr Fiala stated.

Beforehand, the nation’s worst mass capturing was in 2015, when a gunman opened fireplace within the southeastern city of Uhersky Brod, killing eight earlier than fatally capturing himself.

On Thursday, the place vacationers, college students and others would usually be having fun with the view of the enduring monument, chaos and terror as an alternative took maintain. Police automobiles and ambulances sped throughout the bridge with their sirens wailing. Officers sealed off the empty sq..

Some video footage confirmed individuals being evacuated from the constructing and others attempting to cover behind a wall.

Ivo Havranek, a diving teacher, stated he was close to the constructing when he heard a shot ring out, however he didn’t fairly consider that was what he had heard.

“Solely in the mean time after I noticed the totally outfitted riot police with bulletproof vests and shields, it regarded to me that I had discovered myself in a film,” Havranek stated. “But it surely was apparent that no person was capturing a film.”

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Related Press video journalist Stanislav Hodina in Prague and author Zeke Miller in Washington, D.C., contributed.



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