Czech Republic declares one-day mourning after 14 killed in Prague mass shooting

World Friday 22/December/2023 17:50 PM
Czech Republic declares one-day mourning after 14 killed in Prague mass shooting

Prague [Czech Republic]: The Czech Republic has declared a day of mourning after a horrific mass shooting incident in which a 24-year-old student shot dead his father, before killing 14 people and wounding 25 more people at his Prague university, Al Jazeera reported on Friday.

This decision comes after a special cabinet meeting, President Petr Pavel announced that December 23 would be a day of mourning with flags on official buildings to be flown at half-mast and people asked to observe a minute's silence at noon.

"I would express my great sadness along with helpless anger at the unnecessary loss of so many young lives," Pavel said.

"I would like to express my sincere condolences to all relatives of the victims, to all who were at this tragic incident, the most tragic in the history of the Czech Republic."

As many as 14 people were killed and 25 wounded in a shooting at a university in Prague on Thursday, CNN reported.

In a press conference on Thursday, Czech Police Chief Martin Vondrasek said the information he had received so far indicated the shooter took his own life, but added it was not yet confirmed. He also said the suspect had not been formally identified because of the severity of his injuries.

In a later news conference on Thursday night, Vondrasek revised the number of people killed to 14, after previously saying 15 people had died. Of the 25 people injured, 10 were in serious condition, the police chief said, as per CNN.

Emergency services earlier said that nine people had been severely injured, five or six received medium-severe injuries and ten were lightly injured. The authorities have also revised down an earlier number of people injured but said those could still change given the developing situation.

During the shooting, some students locked themselves in classrooms, the police said in an update on X. A picture shared on social media also showed several students hiding on a ledge high up the building.

The incident - at the Faculty of Arts building of Charles University - happened in the center of the capital. The area is popular with tourists and close to major attractions, just across the Vltava River from Prague Castle, as per CNN.

The university was holding classes on Thursday and was due to go on Christmas break on December 23, according to a schedule on the university's website.

Vondrasek said the suspected shooter was a 24-year-old male who travelled to Prague from his hometown village of Hostoun. Vondrasek said the suspected shooter was a student of the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague.

According to the police chief, the authorities had information about the shooter before the incident, saying the police received a tip saying the shooter was travelling to Prague with intention to take his own life. Shortly afterwards, they received information that a deceased man was found in Hostoun. The man is believed to be the suspect's father.

Vondrasek said the police were aware the shooter had a lecture at 2 pm CET and therefore evacuated the building where the lecture was meant to take place. However, the police then received a call about a shooting in a different building, according to the police chief, CNN reported.

The suspected shooter had a gun permit and owned several weapons, Vondrasek said.

As per CNN, the Czech Republic has relatively liberal gun laws compared to the rest of the European Union. To obtain a gun legally, a person needs an official firearm licence, which requires a medical examination, a weapon proficiency exam and no previous criminal record.