On Tuesday morning, Dec. 10, a gunman killed six people in a hospital waiting room in the Czech city of Ostrava before shooting himself in the head. Another three people were wounded, one of them being in a critical condition.
The tragedy was the second-worst the Czech Republic has ever experienced. Only one other attacker shot more people in a restaurant in the city of Uherský Brod in 2015. Eight people died in that attack, including the attacker who shot himself.
Three hours after the Ostrava attack, police managed to track the gunman’s car thanks to a hospital camera system and a helicopter. The attacker’s mother helped police to find him after the gunman called her, saying he had killed several people and was going to commit suicide.
Although his mother contacted the police immediately, it was too late. The gunman shot himself and the officers were unable to save his life even after half an hour of resuscitation.
The gunman was a 42-year-old construction engineer. According to his employer, his behavior had recently changed. He said he felt ill, but complained tht no one wanted to treat him. The man was reportedly convinced he had cancer and is believed to have been a patient at the hospital, but his motive still remains unclear.
Due to the attack, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš decided to cancel his planned trip for a two-day official visit to Estonia. Instead, he flew to Ostrava to express solidarity with the survivors. Babiš said he appreciated the work of the police who found the gunman thanks to their quick reaction.
Czech police officers continue to investigate the crime and are interested in the motives of the attacker. The key question is whether his health and mental condition were the cause of the attack.