Prague, Czech Republic – A student opened fire at Charles University in Prague on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and injuring 30 others. Startling images captured young people seeking cover on the scaffolding of a building as the gunman unleashed his attack. The shooting took place at the university’s Faculty of Arts building near Prague’s Old Town, a popular tourist destination.
Police Chief Martin Vondrasek revealed that earlier in the day, authorities had received a tip about the suspect, identified as 24-year-old David Kozák, planning to travel from his hometown in the Kladno region to Prague to take his own life. Later, Kozák’s father was found dead. The shooter was eventually “eliminated” by the authorities, but there were still injured and deceased victims at the scene.
Kozák, a student in the university’s philosophy department, allegedly drew inspiration from a terrorist attack in Russia and exhibited troubling social media posts expressing his desire to cause pain. While it remains unclear whether Kozák died by suicide or was killed by the police, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda expressed shock at the incident and acknowledged the emerging problem of individual shooters in society.
The shooting prompted the evacuation of the philosophy department and a thorough search for explosives on the building’s balconies. Details about the victims and the circumstances of the shooting have not yet been released.
Videos shared on social media showed panicked individuals trying to flee the scene as sirens blared and police vehicles surrounded the campus building. One witness described hearing the gunshots and seeing the police arrive. An email to Charles University staff advised them to remain in place while the investigation was ongoing.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala canceled his scheduled events and headed to Prague within an hour of the shooting.