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Why did 14 people die? Prague police search for the motive behind the crime

Shortly before Christmas, shots are fired at the renowned Charles University. 14 people die in a hail of bullets, more than 20 are injured. The shooter is also dead. Now the police are looking for the motive for the crime.

STORY: The shock after the deadly gun attack at Prague's Charles University is great. Late
STORY: The shock after the deadly gun attack at Prague's Charles University is great. Late on Thursday evening, students came to the university building and lit candles. A day of national mourning has been declared in the Czech Republic for December 23. Czech President Petr Pavel warned the population not to spread false reports in connection with the crime: "I appeal to everyone not to abuse this tragedy, not to misuse it politically, not to attack the police and not to spread misinformation. And this appeal goes out to everyone, to politicians, to the media, to citizens, to everyone who has access to social media, because what we need first and foremost in a situation like this is restraint and cohesion." On Thursday, a 24-year-old student at Charles University in the center of Prague killed at least 14 people and injured 25 others, some of them seriously. They were taken to various hospitals in the Czech capital. According to the authorities, the suspected perpetrator is also dead. The young man opened fire in the main building of the Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University on Thursday afternoon. The first information about shots fired was received at around 3 p.m., and a rapid response team was on the scene within twelve minutes, it was reported. The 24-year-old student had already been sought before the attack. He is said to have killed his father. He is also suspected of killing another man and a two-month-old girl last

Investigations in the Czech Republic - Why did 14 people die? Prague police search for the motive behind the crime

Following the shooting attack at Charles University in Prague, which left 14 dead and many injured, the police are looking for a motive for the crime. A criminal investigation has been opened to clarify the circumstances, said the public prosecutor in charge, Lenka Bradacova. The suspected shooter is also dead. It was still unclear whether the student shot himself or was neutralized by the police. The autopsy of the body should provide clarification.

A possible motive is still unclear. According to police chief Martin Vondrasek, one of the investigators' hypotheses is that the 24-year-old could also have been responsible for a double murder a week ago. A father and his infant daughter were shot dead, apparently for no reason, in a wooded area on the outskirts of Prague. The case had caused horror in the Czech Republic.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan announced on Thursday that there were no indications of a connection to international terrorism. According to the police, the man was already wanted before the shooting in Prague, as his father had been found dead. The crime caused international consternation.

Prague police searched for suspected shooter

"I can currently confirm 14 victims and 25 injured in this terrible crime," police chief Martin Vondrasek told journalists late in the evening. A large number of "ambulance units" had been sent to the scene of the crime, the Prague rescue service told X. There were also several seriously injured.

The gun attack was carried out at the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University in Prague. It is located in the historic city center near well-known tourist attractions such as the Charles Bridge, which was built in the 14th century.

According to police chief Vondrasek, officers began searching for the 24-year-old before the gun attack after the man's father was found dead in the village of Hostoun, west of Prague. The shooter had made his way to the Czech capital and said he wanted to kill himself, Vondrasek continued. Officers had previously suspected that the gunman had killed his father.

Police searched the main building of the Faculty of Philosophy, where the shooter was expected to give a lecture. However, he went to another building of the faculty nearby and was not found in time. The first information about shots fired was received at around 3 p.m., and the rapid reaction force was on the scene within twelve minutes.

Shortly afterwards, there was information about the motionless body of the shooter. According to unconfirmed information, he had killed himself. Referring to an investigation in online networks, police chief Vondrasek said that the perpetrator had been inspired by a "similar case" in Russia this fall. The officer did not provide any further details. There are currently no indications of any further imminent danger.

According to Vondrasek, the dead had not yet been identified late on Thursday evening, as pyrotechnicians were working in the building. According to him, no officers were injured during the operation.

Sympathy after violence in the Czech Republic

The police evacuated the building and used a concert hall on the other side of the street as a temporary refuge for the evacuees.

The Czech Republic's worst gun attack since the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993 caused consternation around the world. Czech President Petr Pavel expressed his "shock" at the attack. He expressed his "deep regret and sincere condolences" to the families of the victims at X.

A large contingent of police and emergency services were on site at Charles University in Prague

EU Commission President Ursula stated on X that she was "shocked by the senseless violence that has claimed several lives in Prague today". She also expressed her condolences.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz told X that he was "deeply shocked" by the "terrible news from Prague".

"The attack in the middle of Prague strikes at the heart of Europe. We are in mourning", declared Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on X. "The news of the terrible act with several deaths at the University of Prague shakes us to the core", stated Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD). She expressed her sympathy to her colleague Rakusan and offered her support.

The White House condemned the "senseless" violence. French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne expressed their "shock" and "solidarity". Borne said she had spoken to Pavel about the attack - the Czech president ended a visit to France on Thursday.

Editor's note: This article has been updated.

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