Gunman kills at least 14 before being ‘eliminated’ in downtown Prague

Czech officials say at least 14 people were killed and 25 others injured in Prague university shooting.

Police on the balcony of the Philosophy Building which was targeted in the shooting
Police officers stand on the balcony of Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague [Petr David Josek/AP]

A mass shooting at a university in Prague has left at least 14 people dead and 25 others wounded, according to city police and emergency services, making it one of the deadliest shootings of its kind in the country’s history.

Czech police on Thursday said they were responding to the shooting in Jan Palach Square near Prague’s Old Town Square, before reporting that the gunman had been “eliminated.”

The shooting happened around 3pm (14:00 GMT) at the Charles University’s Faculty of Arts, which sits near major tourist sites like the 14th-century Charles Bridge.

“We always thought that this was a thing that did not concern us. Now it turns out that, unfortunately, our world is also changing and the problem of the individual shooter is emerging here as well,” Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told Czech Television.

Czech Shooting
An ambulance drives towards the building of the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in downtown Prague [Petr David Josek/AP]

Prague Police Chief Martin Vondrasek said that the attacker was a student, but did not offer further details. The name of the gunman has yet to be released. Vondrasek said that 14 people were killed and 25 injured, revising an earlier figure of 15 people killed and 24 wounded.

He did not explain the change, but said that police believe the shooter also killed his father earlier on Thursday in his hometown of Hostoun, just west of Prague. Vondrasek said that, based on a search of his home, the shooter is also suspected in the killing of a man and his two-month-old daughter in the east of Prague last week.

Authorities have warned that the death toll from Thursday’s shooting could rise further.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan told the public Czech TV that “no other gunman has been confirmed” and called on people to follow police instructions.

The movitations of the shooter have yet to be verified, but Vondrasek told reporters that authorities have “very fresh unconfirmed information from an account on a social network that he was supposedly inspired by one terrorist attack in Russia in the autumn of this year,” adding the attacker was a legal holder of several firearms.

“It was a pre-mediated horrific act that started in the Kladno region and unfortunately ended here.”

In a social media post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that he had cancelled his trip to the east of the country and was on his way to Prague.

“I am extremely sorry for everyone who fell victim to the inexcusable attack on the Faculty of Arts at the Charles University,” he said in another post. “My deepest condolences to their loved ones and friends.”

A police officer stands on a bridge near the site of a mass shooting
A police officer walks across a bridge over the Vltava river in downtown Prague [Petr David Josek/AP]

The violence in the Czech city’s historic centre sparked panic, a massive police response and warnings for people to stay indoors.

“It was terribly scary, there were a lot of policemen everywhere, who were shouting at us with submachine guns, telling us to run outside,” a student named Klara told the news website

The private outlet TV Nora reported a blast and a gunman on the roof of the building in Prague’s historic centre.

According to Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, the philosophy department of Charles University was later evacuated. The police department said the square had been sealed off.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies