At least 14 people were killed, and 25 others sustained injuries in a mass shooting at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, on Thursday. According to Czech police, the incident occurred in the philosophy department of the varsity. Authorities are investigating what’s been described as the worst mass shooting in the history of the Czech Republic. The death toll may rise, they said. Police say the suspect, who has been identified as David Kozak, is an excellent student and that they believe the attack was a “well thought out” and ‘horrible act.’ Kozak was armed with a ZEV-30 rifle and began randomly shooting students and tourists who were gathered in Jan Palach Square. Police eventually shot him.
Police believe that Kozak had killed his father in Houston, western Czech Republic, on Thursday before traveling into the capital to carry out his deadly rampage. The 24-year-old reportedly had no accomplice. He had a gun permit and owned several weapons, police told reporters. The police chief also said that based on the investigation into his social media posts, they believe a mass shooting in Russia inspired Kozak.
The shooter, dressed in black, stood calmly on a balcony and aimed his powerful rifle at terrified students, teachers, and tourists who were fleeing the building or huddled on the ground. Sickening video footage showed him slowly walking along the balcony, aiming his gun and selecting his victims. On the ground, a heroic man can be heard shouting shoot me, you f***er’ in a bold bid to distract the killer and save lives.
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A student who was in the faculty building, Jakob Weizman, told the Guardian newspaper that he had used chairs and desks to barricade the door of his classroom and was able to stay safe inside until the shooting stopped. He said: ‘There was blood everywhere. We were all panicking.’
In a statement, the White House condemned the heinous attack and offered help to the people of the Czech Republic. The president, Joe Biden, and the first lady, Jill Biden, both offered their condolences to those who lost their loved ones in the tragedy.
The incident has sparked discussions on campus safety, security, and mental health awareness in the Czech Republic and beyond. It has also prompted many to express their grief and share their experiences.
It has been confirmed that the suspected shooter was a student of the Faculty of Arts at Charles University. He had a master’s degree in history and had been at the University for over a year. He had no known criminal record. It was a “senseless act,” and he will be prosecuted. He will face a maximum of 12 years in prison. He will be placed under house arrest for the duration of his trial. He is due to appear in court on January 10. A search of his home revealed that he had collected a vast arsenal of weapons and ammunition.