Czech Government declares state mourning after university shooting

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The Czech Republic has announced a state mourning on December 23 following a university shooting in the capital Prague that has left at least 14 people dead. The Czech government announced an extraordinary meeting. State flags will be lowered to half-mast and citizens are called on to observe a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the shooting in the Faculty of Arts of Charles University on Thursday afternoon, Xinhua news agency reported.

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday evening, Czech Police President Martin Vondrasek said that 14 people died and 25 were injured in the shooting, including 10 in serious conditions. He said that there was a huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition inside the faculty building. “Had it not been for the quick intervention of the police, there would have been many more victims.” Earlier, Vondrasek told journalists that more than 15 people lost their lives and at least 24 others were injured.

Police said on social media X that they are still investigating the identity of the victims, one of whom is a foreigner. The assailant has been eliminated. According to the Czech News Agency (CTK), local police were informed that a young man from Hostoun in the Central Bohemia Region was to leave for Prague, saying he wanted to take his own life. About 25 minutes later, the young man’s father was found dead in Hostoun, and the police consequently launched a search for the son as a suspect.

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The police were also informed that the shooter was to give a lecture at the Faculty of Arts building on Celetna Street in Prague. Thus, they evacuated the building, but the shooting took place at Jan Palach Square, the CTK reported. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told media on Thursday evening that at the moment, the shooting seemed to be the act of a lone gunman, and it was neither international terrorism nor the act of an organised group.

Calling the shooting “a terrible act, unprecedented in the history of the Czech Republic,” Interior Minister Vit Rakusan has said that there is no indication that the shooting was linked to international terrorism. In a statement following the attack, Charles University Management said it has immediately recommended tightening security measures in university buildings and cancelling all events scheduled for Thursday evening and Friday.

“We mourn the loss of life of members of our university community, express our deepest condolences to all the bereaved and our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy,” the statement said. “We now ask everyone to try to remain calm and composed, and we again extend our condolences to all those whose hearts have been broken by the loss of loved ones.”