Prague gunman killed himself on roof as police approached

38 minutes ago
About sharing

Bodycam footage shows police hunting Prague gunman

By Kathryn Armstrong & Sarah Rainsford, Eastern Europe Correspondent
in London and Prague

Prague police say the gunman who killed 14 people at a university on Thursday afternoon killed himself after being surrounded by the authorities.

The attack, which happened at the Faculty of Arts building of Charles University, is the worst mass shooting in Czech history.

The authorities said evidence suggests the shooter also killed a man and his young daughter in a forest near Prague last week.

However, this is still unconfirmed.

Officials told a news conference on Friday that students barricaded themselves into rooms of the university building during the attack and that police had to go floor-by-floor to get them out.

They showed bodycam footage of officers as they hunted for the attacker, who died on the roof of the building.

Police said people had been asked to come out with their hands up because police were unsure if the attacker had accomplices.

The city’s police director, Petr Matejcek, added that there were “piles of ammunition in the corridors” and said he believed the quick arrival of police prevented more bloodshed.

This was echoed by Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan, who told the BBC that the gunman had bought a lot of guns into the university and that he was “ready to kill a lot of people”.

Mr Rakusan clarified that 13 people had died at the university, while another person died later in hospital.

Most of the dead and wounded are women, but the killings are thought to have been random.

“To speak about motives is not easy for this type of crime,” Mr Rakusan said, adding that he thought it might have something to do with the killer’s life and his mental state.

“We don’t have particular proof or info from him why he decided to do something so terrible.”

All of those killed in Thursday’s attack have now been identified, but only one person so far has been named officially. Lenka Hlavkova was head of the Institute of Musicology at Charles University.

“It’s extremely cruel news for all of us,” reads a Facebook post from the institute.

A further 25 people were injured in the attack – including one Dutch citizen and two people from the United Arab Emirates.

The killer, named locally as 24-year-old David Kozak, is also thought to have killed his father at a separate location.

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.

The authorities say they are now on alert for people who may be inspired by Thursday’s attack and are focused on imminent threats – including on social media.

They are also waiting for ballistic evidence to confirm that the gunman was linked to the 15 December murders of a man and his two-month-old daughter in the Klanovicky forest.

The head of Prague Police’s murder department said on Friday that the university shooter had been a suspect in the earlier killings and that police had done their best to catch the person responsible.

Meanwhile, Mr Matejcek has also been responding to criticism that officers had not used their guns quickly enough, saying they were conscious of causing more harm.

“It would be unfortunate if police used a gun and if there was an accident, and people… were killed or injured as a result of that accident,” he said.

Vit Rakusan told the BBC he thought the reaction of police was “really professional” based on the information they had, which was about a suicidal man and not a mass killer.

“When I see the timeline of this crime, I don’t see any empty places where the police could have worked better,” he said.

Related Topics

More on this story

3 hours ago
7 hours ago