The Czech Republic is in mourning after the massacre at Charles University in Prague shortly before Christmas. "It's a shock - none of us would have expected that something like this could happen," said a hospital spokeswoman on behalf of many.
The government declared one-day national mourning this Saturday. Flags should fly at half-mast and the fairy lights on the Christmas tree in Prague's Old Town Square should go out. A funeral service is also planned in Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral.
A student opened fire in the main building of the Faculty of Arts in downtown Prague on Thursday afternoon, killing 14 people. In addition, the shooter was also dead, said the head of the Prague police, Petr Matejcek, on Friday - the young man probably shot himself. All victims have now been identified. There were no foreigners among the dead. Two citizens from the United Arab Emirates and a Dutchman were among the injured, it said.
Also responsible for double murder of father and child?
People laid flowers and lit candles in front of the university building. According to the latest information, 25 people were injured, ten of them seriously. Some suffered bullet wounds in the head, chest or extremities and had to be operated on immediately. All were in stabilized condition. There was still uncertainty about the shooter's possible motive. Before the bloody act, the 24-year-old is said to have murdered his father in his house in the municipality of Hostoun, west of Prague.
The investigators expressed a serious suspicion: the 24-year-old is said to have been responsible for a shocking double murder a week ago. A father and his daughter in early infancy were shot apparently for no reason in a forest on the outskirts of Prague. The case caused horror in the Czech Republic. Investigators later said that a ballistics examination of one of the firearms found in the university shooter's home had confirmed their suspicions.
Eyewitness: “Suddenly a strange bang”
Eyewitnesses to the university attack reported dramatic scenes. “We were having lessons and suddenly we heard a strange bang,” a survivor told the radio in the hospital. Then suddenly someone shot through the door. First, the students barricaded the entrance with benches. When the shooter returned, they climbed out the window, balanced over the ledge and jumped onto a balcony below to save themselves. Police operational videos showed a chaotic situation and people in panic.
There was no further evidence of a terrorist background to the university attack. Interior Minister Vit Rakusan nevertheless announced that security measures in the country would be tightened for preventive reasons. This includes a greater presence of police with submachine guns in selected locations. Rakusan said on the radio that the shooter owned his weapons legally and had no criminal record.
More and more armed people in the country
More and more people in the Czech Republic are arming themselves. Last year, 314,039 citizens had a firearms license. The number of legally registered firearms rose by more than 53,000 to almost a million, exactly 989,348. The right to defend one's own life or that of another person with armed force was even included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms two years ago , which has constitutional status.
Thousands donate to victims and survivors
In response to the gun attack, Charles University set up a fundraiser for the injured and the families of the dead. By midday on Friday, more than 13,000 people had already taken part, as can be seen on the university's endowment fund website. By then, the amount donated had amounted to the equivalent of more than 550,000 euros.
Numerous heads of state and government as well as other top politicians from home and abroad expressed their condolences. “I was horrified to hear the news of the shooting at Charles University in the middle of downtown Prague,” said Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. His thoughts are with the victims and their families. US President Joe Biden wrote on