Czech police patrol public areas, university lectures off after shooting

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Czech police patrol public areas, university lectures off after shooting

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Police officers are seen in and around the Charles University in central Prague, on December 22, 2023, as police investigators kept working on the campus the day after a deadly mass shooting. — AFP pic

PRAGUE, Dec 22 — Czech police tightened security around schools and other public buildings across the country and Prague’s Charles University cancelled all lectures and events on Friday after a student shooter killed 14 people at a university building yesterday.

The shooting was the worst-ever such event in the central European country where many hold guns, some of them sports or hunting rifles, but multiple shootings are rare.

People were lighting candles outside the university’s medieval downtown headquarters since yesterday evening, and leaders of the nation’s universities planned to pay respects there later this morning.

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“Starting today we have adopted countrywide preventative measures in relation to soft targets and schools,” police said on social network X, previously known as Twitter.

“We do not have information about any concrete threat... this is a signal we are here and prepared.”

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said on Czech Radio that 13 out of the 14 victims had been identified. The ministry said there were two UAE citizens and one Dutch person among the injured.

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The authorities provided no fresh information on the condition of those wounded in the attack.

The 24-year shooter died yesterday at the university building, possibly after killing himself or by police bullet, police said.

Police said yesterday the man, who had a gun licence and a clean criminal record, was a student at the Charles University’s Faculty of Arts where the shooting took place.

They said the suspect, whom they asked not to be named, had killed his father at home outside Prague before travelling to the capital.

Police had information he intended to kill himself and were searching for him at another university building where he was due to attend a lecture.

But the shooter instead went to the main Faculty of Arts building, on a busy square across the river from the Prague Castle and just hundreds of metres from the Old Town Square, one of Europe’s major tourist attractions.

The government declared tomorrow a national day of mourning.

Police president Martin Vondrasek said yesterday police were looking into unverified information on the shooter’s possible connection with a social media account citing inspiration by a mass shooting in Russia but there has been no confirmation of that. — Reuters

Members of the police stand guard as a policewoman gets into a police car following a shooting at one of Charles University's buildings in Prague December 22, 2023. — Reuters pic

Members of the police stand guard as a policewoman gets into a police car following a shooting at one of Charles University's buildings in Prague December 22, 2023. — Reuters pic

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