The police sought on Friday to understand the motivations which pushed a student the day before to kill 13 people at Charles University in Prague, the worst attack in the Czech Republic in its contemporary history.
Shocked by this killing in a rather peaceful capital, grieving residents improvised a memorial outside the university made up of a multitude of candles in memory of the victims while the police continued their investigation on the campus located in the historic center of Prague.
Aged 24, the student shot dead 13 people and injured 25 others before committing suicide.
“We know the identities of the 14 dead. These are 13 victims of the mad shooter and himself,” Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said on Czech public television on Friday, revising downwards the previous toll which reported 14 fatal victims.
The government declared a day of national mourning on December 23 and the population was invited to observe a minute of silence at midday.
Police chief Martin Vondrasek said earlier that the shooter, unknown to the authorities, had a “huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition” and that rapid police action had prevented further carnage. severe.
All of the victims were killed inside the building, and some of them were college classmates of the murderer.
Vondrasek said police began searching for the student even before the shooting because his father was found dead in the village of Hostoun, west of Prague.
The gunman “left for Prague saying he wanted to kill himself,” he said, declining to confirm whether the gunman had actually killed his father.
Police searched a building at the Faculty of Arts where the shooter was supposed to report for a class, but he eventually went to the faculty’s main building, located nearby.
The faculty is located in the historic center of Prague, close to major tourist sites such as the 14th century Charles Bridge.e century and the picturesque Old Town Square.
Police learned of the shooting around 9 a.m. EST and immediately dispatched a response unit.
Twenty minutes later, the shooter was found dead.
Citing a social media investigation, Vondrasek said the shooter was inspired by a “similar case in Russia,” without going into detail.
Vondrasek said police suspected the same gunman of killing a young man and his two-month-old daughter in a pram during a walk in a forest in Prague’s eastern suburbs on December 15.
The investigation into this murder remained at an impasse until evidence found in Hostoun linked the shooter to this crime.
A “senseless” act
Support from local and international politicians poured in after the attack.
“Nothing can justify this horrible act,” said Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, expressing his condolences to the bereaved families.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, offered his condolences, denouncing a “senseless” shooting.
French President Emmanuel Macron, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered their condolences.
According to Mr. Rakusan, there was no link between the shooting and “international terrorism” and the student acted alone.
In 2015, a 63-year-old man shot dead seven men and a woman before committing suicide in a restaurant in the southeastern town of Uhersky Brod. In 2019, a man killed six people in the waiting room of a hospital in the eastern city of Ostrava, and another woman died days later. The murderer then committed suicide.