14 dead and dozens wounded in Prague university shooting, Czech officials say

Shortly after noon local time, police received a report that a 24-year-old man was on his way to Prague, saying he wanted to take his own life, according to authorities. The first call about a shooting at the university came in at 2:59 p.m. local time. Officers were on the scene within minutes, Vondrášek said.

The shooter’s body was found around 3:20 p.m. local time, Vondrášek said.

“From the checks so far, it follows that [the suspect] is a blank slate for us,” Vondrášek said at the news conference. “We also found out from that check that he is a legal holder of several firearms.”

Asked about reports that the shooter was also armed with explosives, Vondrášek could not confirm but said the gunman was capable of even more bloodshed.

“Right now I can’t confirm the presence of explosives, but there was a large quantity of munitions and if the police hadn’t entered the building in time, the perpetrator wouldn’t have been dead at [3:20] and there would be a lot more victims,” he said.

The suspect’s father was later found dead from an apparent suicide, according to police. They said it’s unclear whether it occurred before or after the shooting.

The shooting prompted the evacuation of a building in downtown Prague and warnings from officials that people remain indoors. The entire Náměstí Jan Palach town square and the surrounding area were closed.

Video shared online and geolocated by NBC News showed dozens of people running on the Charles Bridge.

Charles University, one of the oldest universities in Europe, offered its condolences to the victims and their loved ones.

“We mourn the loss of life of members of our university community, express our deepest condolences to all the bereaved and our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy,” the school posted on its website. “We now ask everyone to try to remain calm and composed, and we again extend our condolences to all those whose hearts have been broken by the loss of loved ones.”

The faculty of arts at Charles University said it was “shocked” and “mourned for lives lost.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were praying for the victims and their families.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said he’s returning to Prague in a post on X.

“Due to the tragic events at the Faculty of Philosophy in Prague, I have canceled the work program in Olomouc and am going back to Prague,” he said.

Earlier Thursday, the British Embassy in Prague issued an advisory and asked nationals to follow the advice of local authorities.

The Czech Republic is also known as Czechia.


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