Prague shooting: 14 dead in Prague shooting, including gunman, emergency services say

Prague shooting: 14 dead in Prague shooting, including gunman, emergency services say
Video prague shooting

Police say 14 people, including a gunman, have died in a mass shooting in central Prague, according to Czech emergency services.

At least 25 others have also been wounded – with 10 seriously injured – according to the Czech police.

The body of the gunman – a 24-year-old student at Charles University in Prague, named in Czech media as “David K” – was discovered in one of the university’s buildings, according to officials.

Police said the gunman’s father was also found dead at a property in Hostoun, a village to the west of the Czech capital, earlier on Thursday.

Prague police president Martin Vondrasek said investigators were looking at whether the gunman had been “inspired” by a previous mass shooting in Russia, following reports in Czech media that he had posted on social media prior to the attack.

Mr Vondrasek said police had evacuated another university building – where the student had been due to attend a lecture on Thursday – prior to the shooting.

The suspect – who has not yet been named by police – legally owned several guns, according to Mr Vondrasek.

And while he has not previously been known to the police, the gunman is, following the search of his home, now a suspect in the killing of another man and his two-month-old daughter in the east of Prague earlier this month, according to Mr Vondrasek.

Thursday’s mass shooting is the deadliest in the modern history of Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic) – the last being in 2019, when six people were killed by a gunman, who later took his own life, in the Ostrava hospital attack.

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Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told Czech television: “We always thought that this was a thing that did not concern us.

“Now it turns out that, unfortunately, our world is also changing and the problem of the individual gunman is emerging here as well.”

‘Senseless violence’

Czech interior minister, Vit Rakusan, has travelled to the scene, while prime minister Petr Fiala has declared 23 December a day of national mourning.

In a press conference on Thursday night, Mr Fiala said he was “shocked” by what happened and offered his condolences to the relatives of the victims.

He also said the situation was “fully under control”, that the shooter acted alone, and there was “no further danger” to those in the area.

“Let us all think about those who lost their loved ones and for whom this year’s Christmas will be incredibly sad,” he added.

“Let us share their sadness in this pain. In this difficult moment, we should all come together and show our mutual understanding and in this way express our respect towards the victims of this brutal crime.”

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said she was “shocked by the senseless violence of the shooting”.

“I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Czech people as a whole. We stand and mourn with you,” she said on X, formerly Twitter.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the US stood “ready to provide additional support as needed” to Czech authorities.

The incident took place in the area of Jan Palach Square, in the city’s Old Town district.

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It is just a few minutes’ walk from the picturesque Old Town Square, a major tourist attraction where thousands of visitors have been enjoying a popular Christmas market.

The area is home to the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design, as well as the philosophical faculty of Charles University, where Mr Vondrasek said the bloodshed took place.

Staff at the faculty of arts of Charles University were sent an emergency email during the shooting in which staff were urged to “stay put”, according to Reuters.

“Don’t go anywhere, if you’re in the offices, lock them and place furniture in front of the door, turn off the lights,” the email said, according to the news agency.

One X user posted a photo of a group of students, hiding crouched on a building ledge.

Other pictures posted on social media showed students barricading themselves into classrooms.

Klara, a student at the university, told local media that she was among those who police evacuated from the building.

“It was terribly scary,” she told iDnes.cz.

“There were a lot of policemen everywhere, who were shouting at us with submachine guns, telling us to run outside.”

Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda said both The Philosophical Faculty of Charles University and the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design, had been evacuated during the shooting.

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Petr Nedoma, director of the Rudolfinum Gallery at a concert hall across Palach Square, told Czech television he saw the gunman with an “automatic weapon”.

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He said he saw the gunman put his hands up before throwing the weapon down on the street, where it landed on a pedestrian crossing.

Meanwhile, a British couple who were visiting Prague as part of their honeymoon, said they were ordered to stay down by police during the shooting.

Tom Leese, 34, a video producer and his wife Rachael, 31, an account director, from Surrey, said they were having a drink in the Slivovitz Museum, close to where the shooting took place, when a policeman burst in.

“He started shouting loudly in what I assume was Czech,” Mr Leese said.

“I asked for it in English, and he said there was an active shooter and to stay inside and stay down.

“The staff were very calm, turned all the lights off very quickly and urged us to stay calm.”