Worst shooting in Czech history: Country mourns 15 victims of Prague university massacre

Police officers secure an area after a shooting in downtown Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. Czech police say a shooting in downtown Prague has killed an unspecified number of people and wounded others. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

A mass shooting on Thursday afternoon at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in downtown Prague resulted in the death of 15 people, according to the latest police information.

According to the Czech Interior Ministry, the attacker was a 24-year-old Czech history student at the university named David K. from a village 21 kilometers from Prague where police believe he also murdered his father before the attack.

Police are not yet treating the incident as a terrorist attack, and suspect that the attacker may have been inspired by similar mass shooting attacks abroad.

The shooter’s body was found in the university building and, according to a press conference, although the police officers who responded used their weapons, the injuries on the attacker’s body suggest that he took his own life. The exact cause of his death will only be revealed during a later investigation.

Czech President Petr Pavel said that he felt immense sadness and helpless anger at the totally senseless loss of human lives.

“We are all appalled by this terrible act. It is difficult to find words to express the pain and grief our whole society is feeling in the days before Christmas,” he said.

The motive for the shooting is still unclear but police claim to be in receipt of social media posts from the attacker in praise of a similar incident in Russia.

Police found the attacker’s father dead in his house on Thursday afternoon, and authorities believe the perpetrator may have killed him and then gone to the university to commit the mass murder.

Authorities also said that the gunman is suspected of killing a 32-year-old man and his two-month-old daughter, who were found dead in a forest on the outskirts of Prague on Dec. 15.

“We are working very seriously with the version, which at the moment is very real, that the attacker from the Faculty of Philosophy is also responsible for the two victims from the end of last week in Klánovický les,” said police chief Martin Vondrášek at a press conference on Thursday evening.

However, Vondrášek argues that the police cannot be blamed for the attack in Prague, as they expended all their resources searching for the perpetrator.

“I am personally convinced that the Prague police officers carried out a huge number of actions during that week and that it has not been possible for anyone to find out the identity of the suspect to this day,” said Vondrášek.

“I am convinced at this point that these were completely randomly selected victims by a person with no criminal record whatsoever,” he added.

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