(StraightNews.org) – Fourteen people died, and more than a dozen more were injured, when a gunman opened fire at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, on December 21. The gunman was later identified as 24-year-old David Kozak, who studied history at the university. He is also believed to have killed his father, as well as a man and his 2-year-old daughter, days earlier. He turned the gun on himself and died at the scene. It is the deadliest such attack in Czech Republic history.
Police Chief Martin Vondrasek told reporters the shooting started in the school’s arts department, and video footage showed people attempting to escape by climbing out of windows and jumping from ledges.
Professor Sergei Medvedev, who was lecturing at the time, said he didn’t quite understand what was happening, but his students told him they could hear loud noises, and an hour later, a “police squad broke in and then put us on the floor, briefly searched us then evacuated from the building.”
The college is located near Jan Palach Square, an area popular with tourists, and an American visitor, Hannah Mallicoat, was a witness to the attack. She said she heard the first shot but initially thought it was a firecracker or car backfire until “I heard the second shot, and people started running,” she said.
Students inside the university at the time posted messages on Twitter – Jakob Weizman tweeted that he was inside a classroom and had managed to lock the door before the shooter reached him. An email to faculty members told them, “Stay put, don’t go anywhere, if you’re in the offices, lock them and place furniture in front of the door, turn off the lights.”
Czech President Petr Pavel appealed for unity and calm and confirmed that a motive for the attack had not been established. The President declared December 23 as a day of national mourning.
Founded in 1347, Charles University is the oldest and largest college in the country.
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