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Czech Republic declares day of mourning after gunman kills 14 at Prague university

EuropeCzech Republic declares day of mourning after gunman kills 14 at Prague university

The gunman is also suspected in the killings of another man and his two-month-old daughter.

A 24-year-old Czech student fatally shot his father, then went on to kill 14 people and injure 25 others at his Prague university on Thursday, before potentially taking his own life, marking the country’s deadliest mass shooting.

The government declared a day of mourning across the central European country for December 23 to honour the victims, a decision made at a special cabinet meeting with President Petr Pavel.

Expressing his profound sorrow and deep anger over the loss of numerous young lives, President Pavel said, “I extend my heartfelt condolences to all the families of the victims and everyone affected by this tragic incident, the most devastating in the history of the Czech Republic.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his deep sorrow following the deadly shooting incident.

“Saddened by the news of the shooting incident at Prague’s Charles University. Deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” posted EAM Jaishankar.

Police discovered a large arsenal of weapons at the downtown Prague Charles University building where the shooting occurred.

Earlier in the day, authorities received information suggesting the suspect was likely headed from his town in the Kladno region outside the capital to Prague, possibly with intentions of ending his own life. Shortly after, the suspect’s father was found dead.

Authorities evacuated a Faculty of Arts building where the shooter was expected to attend a lecture. However, they were subsequently called to the faculty’s larger main building, arriving within minutes after reports of the shooting, Police President Martin Vondrasek said.

“We received unconfirmed information from an account on a social network suggesting that he was supposedly inspired by a terrorist attack in Russia in the autumn of this year,” Vondrasek told reporters. He added that the shooter was a legal holder of several firearms.

The gunman is also suspected in the killings of another man and his two-month-old daughter, who were found dead last week with gunshot wounds in a village outside Prague, Vondrasek said.

While the gunman’s death appears to be a suicide, authorities are investigating whether he may have been killed by police who returned fire, Vondrasek added.

Police confirmed that the shooter was an excellent student with no prior criminal record and acted alone.

Authorities have requested not to disclose the man’s identity, although certain Czech media reports aligned with a police search report.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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