Day of mourning declared in Czech Republic after gunman kills 14 at Prague university

Home*Cover Story*International

Day of mourning declared in Czech Republic after gunman kills 14 at Prague university

The Czech Republic has declared Saturday a national day of mourning after a gunman killed 14 people and injured 25 at a university in Prague.

President Petr Pavel expressed his “great sadness” and “helpless anger at the totally unnecessary” loss of life.

The gunman, who police said had been “eliminated”, is believed to have also killed his father and may be linked to the deaths of two people last week.

It is one of the worst mass shootings in recent European history.

The shooting began at around 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Thursday at the Faculty of Arts building of Charles University in the centre of the Czech capital.

The gunman opened fire in the corridors and classrooms of the building, apparently killing at random, while staff and students used furniture to barricade themselves into rooms.

Dramatic footage shared on social media shows people jumping to safety from an exterior ledge several storeys up. Gunshots can also be heard.

Police say the gunman was a 24-year-old student at the university and had no prior criminal record, though they add that a “huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition” was found.

Before the shooting, police had received a report that the suspect was believed to be heading to Prague from a nearby town with the intention of killing himself.

A short time later, the man’s father was discovered dead.

Police evacuated a different university building where the gunman had been expected to attend a lecture, but a short time later were called to the faculty’s main building nearby.

Of the 25 people wounded in the shooting, 10 were injured seriously, police said, adding that no officers had been hurt.

In a statement, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said: “We are all shocked by this horrendous act.

“It is hard to find the words to express condemnation on the one hand and, on the other, the pain and sorrow that our entire society is feeling in these days before Christmas.”

He said Saturday would be a day of mourning, adding that flags would be flown at half-mast on all public buildings and that a minute’s silence would be observed at midday.

Many sports and cultural events have been called off.