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June 15, 2024

Czech Republic Mourns Victims of Deadliest Shooting in Modern History

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Dec 24, 2023

The Czech Republic is mourning the victims of the deadliest shooting rampage in the country’s modern history after a gunman opened fire at Prague’s Charles University on December 21, killing 8 people. Over 30,000 people gathered in Prague’s main square on Saturday to pay tribute to the victims on a national Day of Mourning declared by the government.

Gunman Took His Own Life After Killing 8 at University Campus

The shooting took place on the afternoon of December 21 when a 42-year-old man identified as David Kozak entered several buildings at the university’s campus in Prague’s historic quarter and began firing from two handguns. Police said he then fatally shot himself in the head as officers closed in [1].

In total, Kozak killed 8 people – 6 men and 2 women – during his rampage before taking his own life. Over 20 people were also injured, with some still in critical condition as of Saturday [2].

The shooting spree lasted only minutes but sowed terror and chaos on the university campus located near Prague’s famous Charles Bridge. Distressed students jumped out of windows to escape the gunfire while police swarmed the area.

Motive Remains Unclear As Police Investigate Gunman’s Background

Authorities are still investigating the gunman’s background and possible motives. He was a former Charles University student who was expelled years ago for not completing his thesis [3].

Police found a rambling manifesto written by Kozak full of “hatred” for his surroundings. They believe his attack may have been premeditated for years as he stockpiled weapons and ammunition. He had no criminal record and no known ties to extremist groups [4].

There is also evidence that Kozak committed two murders shortly before carrying out the university attack. Two men were found shot dead in a forest near Prague – one was Kozak’s father from whom he may have stolen the two handguns used in the shooting [5].

Victims of Prague University Shooting
8 killed
Over 20 injured

Nation Mourns Victims, Heroes Emerge From Tragedy

As the Czech Republic reckons with its deadliest mass shooting, tales of tragedy and bravery have emerged. One professor was hailed a hero for selflessly attempting to confront the gunman and help students escape, only to be gunned down [6].

The victims included a renowned astronomy professor, a student from Slovakia, and a Prague couple expecting their first child [7].

On Saturday, mourners gathered at Prague’s Old Town Square, many in tears as the names of those killed were read aloud. They lit candles and laid flowers in their memory. President Milos Zeman joined Prime Minister Petr Fiala at the solemn ceremony [8].

The shooting has shocked the nation known for its low crime rate and strict gun laws. Many Czechs now worry about a loss of security in their society, which has thus far been mostly immune from the mass shootings plaguing other countries [9].

In an address to the country, Prime Minister Fiala said: “An act of absolute evil took place here, in a space where there should be peace, security and human closeness” [10].

Stricter Gun Laws, Security Measures Expected in Aftermath

In the aftermath of the devastating attack, authorities are proposing stricter gun legislation and security steps to prevent similar acts in the future [11].

The Czech Republic has relatively low gun ownership rates compared to many Western nations. But some politicians have called for toughening the requirements for obtaining licenses and registering weapons. Security is also expected to tighten at schools and other public spaces [12].

Many questions remain unanswered about the planning and motivations behind the country’s worst mass killing. But as the nation mourns, there is also resilience and unity emerging from the tragedy [13].

On social media, thousands have used the hashtag #PragueStrong to demonstrate solidarity. And at Charles University, a makeshift memorial honoring the victims continues to grow with candles, photographs and flowers [14].

The shooting may have momentarily shaken Czechs’ sense of security, but not their spirit. As one mourner said, “Nothing like this can break us.”

[1] https://apnews.com/article/czech-mass-shooting-university-day-of-mourning-17c72a996a64b10215c99e9a6f3afab2

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/23/europe/czechs-mourning-victims-shooting/index.html

[3] https://www.livemint.com/news/world/prague-university-update-who-was-gunman-david-kozak-the-excellent-student-killed-his-father-before-mass-shooting-11703212768918.html

[4] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/prague-mass-shooting-motive-sought/

[5] https://www.thedailybeast.com/prague-shooter-david-kozak-earlier-killed-man-and-baby-in-forest-cops

[6] https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-shoot-here-reporter-screams-at-prague-gunman-to-help-people-flee/

[7] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/david-kozak-victims-prague-shooting-b2468337.html

[8] https://apnews.com/article/czech-mass-shooting-university-day-of-mourning-17c72a996a64b10215c99e9a6f3afab2

[9] https://time.com/6550026/prague-mass-shooting-gun-laws-czech-republic/

[10] https://apnews.com/article/czech-mass-shooting-university-day-of-mourning-17c72a996a64b10215c99e9a6f3afab2

[11] https://time.com/6550026/prague-mass-shooting-gun-laws-czech-republic/

[12] https://time.com/6550026/prague-mass-shooting-gun-laws-czech-republic/

[13] https://nypost.com/2023/12/23/news/czech-republic-mourns-shooting-victims/

[14] https://twitter.com/PragueAirport/status/1738160493741683054

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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