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Police find evidence linking the perpetrator of the Prague attack to the death of a man and his baby | International

The Czech Republic woke up in mourning this Friday after the most serious shooting in memory of the country’s recent history. On a rainy morning, with temperatures hovering around zero degrees, dozens of people placed candles in front of the Charles University headquarters, in the center of Prague, in memory of the fatal victims of the young man who broke into the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters on Thursday. The attacker, a 24-year-old student identified as David K., killed 14 people (one of them died in hospital) and injured 25, hours after his father’s lifeless body was found at his home in Hostoun. , near the city of Kladno.

In the search of the family home, evidence was found linking the perpetrator of the attack, who shot himself during the police operation, with the death of two more people. They are a 35-year-old man and his daughter, a two-month-old baby, also victims of shooting last week in the Klánovice forest, in the Prague district. The weapon with which this crime was committed, for which investigators do not see a clear motive, coincides with one found at the student’s home, the police have reported. The assailant had eight registered weapons, two of them long, and had no criminal record. The police have regretted not having gone through the complete list of suspects in that murder, and not having reached the attacker in time to stop the tragedy.

The assailant lived in Hostoun, a town near the airport and about 20 kilometers west of Prague, where he studied History at Charles University. He specialized in the recent history of Poland, which earned him a prize from the Polish Institute in Prague. Police reported Thursday that the assailant had been inspired by a similar event that occurred in Russia and ruled out connections with international terrorism. Some media have pointed out that David K. shared his plans on the Telegram messaging app.

Colleagues of the attacker have described him as a reserved person, very interested in weapons. Among the few details that have been published about him, they have indicated that he had psychological problems. The police have asked the media not to publicize it. The former Czech president, Václav Klaus, has shared his impressions of the event: “I see it as a tragic wandering of the pathological mind of a young man incapable of understanding the current confusing world and himself in it, and inspired by sinister patterns of crimes. similar abroad.

The police had received a notice on Thursday afternoon from a friend of the young man to whom he had written a message saying that he intended to commit suicide and was not responding to her calls. After going to his home and finding the body of his father, they headed to Prague, where the young man had gone by public transport. The police went to an address where Kozak was supposed to have class at 2:00 p.m., but the assailant went instead to the faculty on Jan Palach Square. The authorities insist that they arrived a few minutes after receiving the first warnings.

Investigators have already identified all the fatalities. The majority of the injured, as reported by health authorities, are stable. Among them are two people from the United Arab Emirates and one from the Netherlands. Some are in serious condition, and one of them is critical. In addition to medical care, dozens of people are receiving psychological help due to the impact of the event, including some police officers.

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Students from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at Charles University take refuge on a ledge during the shooting this Thursday in Prague.IVO HAVRANEK (Ivo Havranek via REUTERS)

Stories from witnesses and survivors are beginning to emerge in the local media. Like that of a student, who was part of the group that tried to take refuge on the ledge of the faculty building. According to her, she told Czech Radio and collect Novinky, this young woman was in class when they heard some shots. “We thought it was someone fooling around in the hallway, and then a gunshot went through the door. We hid under the tables as best we could,” she narrated.

According to his story, the attacker immediately returned and began to break down the door. The students fled through the window. “We were on the fourth floor, so we ran across the roof and crawled along the ledge, around a corner. There was a terrace below us,” he continued. They crouched there for a long time until someone said that the assailant had also left through the window.

Then they jumped to the terrace on the third floor, broke the window, entered the building and ran down the stairs. For the majority, this escape caused bruises and some fractures. “But someone fell from the ledge onto the street,” according to the young woman.

Among the victims of the attack are students and staff of the university. The assailant, after leaving the building on the fourth floor, shot and wounded three people on the street. When he was surrounded by the police, he shot himself, Petr Matejcek, director of the regional police headquarters, reported at a press conference this Friday.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala participates in a tribute to the victims of the Prague shooting.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala participates in a tribute to the victims of the Prague shooting.DAVID W CERNY (REUTERS)

“I was in the building during the attack. What I saw in the hallways, the ammunition reserves, was incredible. “If the attacker had not been cornered, it would have been much worse,” said Matejcek, after the screening of a recording made with the cameras on the uniforms of the police officers who entered the faculty. According to him, between 220 and 230 agents participated in the operation.

official mourning

Prague is experiencing a day of mourning after an afternoon and night in which many people worked hard to locate friends and acquaintances to see if they were okay. In an extraordinary meeting of the Government, together with the president, Petr Pavel, on Thursday night, they declared Saturday to be an official day of mourning. That day a religious funeral will be held at 11:00 in St. Vitus Cathedral. The country has received condolences from leaders around the world.

The police have announced more security measures these days, especially in what they call soft targets, which refers to places with a large influx of people and educational centers. According to local media, more uniformed officers can already be seen on the streets, carrying long weapons. The police recorded a call on Thursday night from a person who said that she was going to follow the attacker’s example, and that she has already been identified and arrested. A 14-year-old teenager has also threatened to attack his school. Police have investigated up to seven similar incidents in various regions of the country, in which the perpetrator of the shooting is praised or the intention to carry out more violence is reported. Also a threat to the assailant’s family.

The university, which has felt vulnerable after the attack, requested enhanced security on Thursday. The Minister of the Interior has announced that preventive measures will be taken at least until January 1. But it’s not just Prague’s educational centers that have woken up traumatized. Universities across the country are announcing initiatives to strengthen security, such as that of Palacký in Olomouc, where police will monitor more than 70 university buildings.

Candles in tribute to the victims, this Thursday in Prague.
Candles in tribute to the victims, this Thursday in Prague. DAVID W CERNY (REUTERS)

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