The Czech Republic declared a state of mourning set for December 23 following a tragic shooting incident at a university in Prague, resulting in the loss of at least 14 lives.
In response to this devastating event at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University on Thursday, the Czech government convened an emergency meeting and announced that state flags would be flown at half-mast. Citizens are urged to observe a minute of silence in honour of the victims.
During an evening press briefing, Czech Police President Martin Vondrasek confirmed that 14 individuals had tragically lost their lives, with 25 others sustaining injuries, including 10 in critical condition. Vondrasek praised the swift police intervention, which potentially prevented further casualties, noting the discovery of a significant arsenal of weapons and ammunition within the faculty premises.
Initial reports earlier suggested a higher casualty count, with Vondrasek informing the press of over 15 fatalities and at least 24 injuries. Police, via social media, indicated ongoing efforts to identify the victims, including one individual of foreign nationality, while confirming the elimination of the assailant responsible.
Czech News Agency (CTK) revealed that local police received information regarding a young man from Hostoun in the Central Bohemia Region, allegedly intending to self-harm in Prague. Tragically, the man’s father was found deceased in Hostoun, prompting a search for the son as a suspect.
As per police reports, the shooter was anticipated to deliver a lecture at the Faculty of Arts building on Celetna Street in Prague. Although the building was evacuated as a precaution, the shooting occurred at Jan Palach Square, according to CTK.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala addressed the media, indicating that the incident appeared to involve a solitary gunman and was not indicative of international terrorism or an organized group’s action.
Interior Minister Vit Rakusan stressed that there was no evidence linking the shooting to international terrorism, characterizing it as a “terrible and unprecedented act in the history of the Czech Republic.”
Following the tragedy, Charles University Management promptly recommended enhanced security measures across university facilities and the cancellation of all planned events for Thursday evening and Friday. Expressing condolences and solidarity, the university statement mourned the loss of its community members and extended sympathies to all affected by the distressing event. The university urged for calm and unity while acknowledging the profound grief experienced by those who lost their loved ones.