Prague is shrouded in mourning as the nation grapples with the aftermath of a devastating incident at Charles University. A gunman, whose rampage claimed the lives of 14 and left 25 wounded, has plunged the city into sorrow and disbelief.
President Petr Pavel expressed profound sorrow and righteous indignation at the senseless loss, declaring Saturday a national day of mourning. The gunman, now confirmed deceased by the authorities, is suspected not only in this horrific act but also in prior fatalities.
The tragic event unfolded on Thursday afternoon within the walls of the Faculty of Arts building at Charles University. Chaos erupted as the assailant unleashed terror in the corridors and classrooms, targeting unsuspecting victims indiscriminately. Gripping scenes captured on social media depict desperate escapes from upper floors while the echo of gunfire reverberates.
Police revealed shocking details of the gunman, a 24-year-old student, previously without a criminal record. However, they uncovered a vast stockpile of weapons and ammunition in his possession.
Prior to the attack, authorities received alarming reports of his intentions, sparking a frantic search as he headed towards Prague. Tragically, his father was discovered dead shortly thereafter.
The nation stands in solidarity, reeling from the severity of the situation. Prime Minister Petr Fiala expressed the nation’s collective shock, struggling to articulate both condemnation and the profound grief gripping society, especially in the days leading to Christmas.
Saturday will stand as a somber day, marked by lowered flags and a moment of silence at noon. The streets surrounding the university have transformed into a solemn memorial, adorned with candles and flowers as the community grapples with this inexplicable tragedy.
The motive behind this devastating attack remains unclear, with authorities hinting at potential inspirations from elsewhere. Unconfirmed reports suggest ties to an incident in Russia, adding to the complexity of this sorrowful narrative.
This heart-wrenching incident stands as one of the deadliest lone-gunman shootings in Europe this century, leaving an indelible mark on the history of tragedies:
- Norway, July 2011: Anders Behring Breivik’s heinous act claimed 77 lives in Oslo and at a youth camp.
- Germany, April 2002: Robert Steinhauser’s expulsion led to the death of 16 at the Gutenberg Gymnasium secondary school.
- Germany, March 2009: Tim Kretschmer’s rampage claimed 15 lives in Winnenden and Wendlingen.
- Switzerland, September 2001: Friedrich Leibacher’s attack in Zug resulted in 14 deaths.
- Serbia, April 2013: Ljubisa Bogdanovic’s deadly assault left thirteen dead and his wife injured.
Founded in 1347, Charles University bears witness to this tragedy, standing as a testament to resilience in the face of inexplicable horror.