Update From NC State European Center in Prague

In a tragic and shocking event, a student at a Prague university initiated a mass shooting on Thursday, leading to the death of at least 14 people and injuring more than 20. This incident is recorded as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the Czech Republic.

The attack took place at Charles University, specifically within the philosophy department. The perpetrator, identified as a student of the university, also died during the incident, although his identity has not been revealed.

Martin Vondrasek, the Chief of Prague Police, provided an initial death toll of 15, with 24 injuries, but later revised these figures to 14 deaths and 25 injuries. The reason for this change was not explained, and there is a possibility that the number of casualties may increase.

No specific information regarding the victims or the shooter’s motive has been released by the police. Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan has indicated that the shooting does not seem to be connected to any form of extremist ideology or group.

It is believed that earlier on the same day, the shooter killed his father in Houston, a town to the west of Prague. Furthermore, Vondrasek linked the shooter to the murders of another man and his 2-month-old daughter on December 15 in the eastern part of Prague.

The shooter, described as a top-performing student without a criminal history, appears to have planned his actions meticulously. It is unclear whether he committed suicide or was killed in a shootout with the police. The authorities confirmed that he was in legal possession of several firearms and had a significant amount of ammunition, suggesting he acted alone without any accomplices.

Following this incident, Charles University announced an immediate increase in security measures across its campuses. The university expressed profound grief over the lives lost and extended its condolences to the families and individuals affected by the tragedy.

The location of the shooting was near the Vltava River in Jan Palach Square, a busy tourist spot in Prague’s Old Town. The Czech government has moved swiftly to reassure the public that the shooting was not influenced by foreign entities and shows no signs of being linked to international terrorism.

Pavel Nedoma, the director of the nearby Rudolfinum Gallery, witnessed the events of the shooting. The authorities subsequently evacuated the area and conducted thorough searches, including a balcony from where shots were believed to have been fired, for any explosives.

The Czech President Petr Pavel, along with international leaders from Germany, France, Slovakia, the European Union, and Israel, have expressed their deep condolences. The White House, through press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, also conveyed condolences on behalf of the United States.

The Czech government convened an emergency meeting to discuss the shooting, which now stands as the nation’s most fatal shooting, surpassing the 2015 Uhersky Brod shooting. The usually vibrant and tourist-filled area was engulfed in a state of emergency, with police and emergency services responding swiftly to the crisis.

Eyewitness accounts describe a surreal and alarming scene as the events unfolded, with many seeking immediate shelter amidst the confusion and fear.

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