A lone gunman opened fire at Prague’s Charles University on December 21st, killing 14 people in what is being called the Czech Republic’s worst mass shooting. The suspect, identified by police as 42-year old David Kozak, turned the gun on himself after the attack.
Shooting Spree at Charles University
The shooting occurred around 5 pm local time inside one of the buildings of the prestigious Charles University (BBC). Kozak was armed with two legally-owned firearms – a handgun and a rifle (CBS News). Witnesses described a ruthless rampage as the gunman went from room to room, shooting anyone he encountered (Reuters). Some students and staff jumped out of windows to escape, suffering broken bones and other injuries (TMZ).
In total, 14 people were killed, including 6 women and 8 men – many of them university students and staff. Over 20 more were injured (ABC News). Three foreign nationals from Ukraine, Russia, and Germany were among the wounded (Chronicle Online).
The shooting ended after a special police unit hunted down the attacker and shot him dead about an hour after the rampage began (Politico). Newly released bodycam footage shows the tense moment when officers finally located the gunman and shot him (BBC).
Shooter’s Background and Possible Motive
The suspected shooter was identified as David Kozak, a 42-year old Czech citizen who was a student at Charles University. Details have emerged about Kozak’s troubled background, including a letter he left behind claiming responsibility for killing his toddler son days before the attack (Daily Beast).
Investigators are still trying to determine Kozak’s exact motive for the mass shooting, but believe it was related to his paranoid delusions and hatred of his fellow students and university staff (CBS News). He may have specifically targeted the university building where he had attended lectures (NY Times).
Some reports indicate Kozak struggled with drug addiction and was known to local police, though he had no prior violent crimes on his record (Daily Mail). The attack has shed light on loopholes in Czech gun laws that allow certain firearms to be easily obtained (Time).
Nation Mourns Victims
December 23rd was declared a national day of mourning in the Czech Republic to honor the victims of the devastating attack (PBS). Across the country, moments of silence were held and flags flown at half-mast (AP News).
Charles University held a memorial service attended by top officials who paid respects to the dead and offered support for the grieving community (CNN). Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner expressed his “deep sorrow” and called on believers to “not let evil win” (OSV News).
The shooting has left the country shaken and grieving. But Czech authorities have vowed to conduct a thorough investigation to determine all the facts and prevent such tragedies in the future (Al Jazeera).
In the meantime, the nation continues to mourn and heal after its deadliest mass killing in modern history.
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