Czech university mass shooting suspect killed himself after murdering 14, wounding two dozen others

December 22, 2023
by
Ben Marquis

There was an incredibly rare but no less tragic mass shooting incident at a university in Prague of the Czech Republic on Thursday that left at least 14 innocent people dead and at least 24 others wounded.

The gunman, identified as a 24-year-old student at Prague's Charles University, who was also suspected of having previously shot and killed his father that day plus another man and his infant daughter a week earlier, is believed to have shot and killed himself when confronted by police, according to The Independent.

The deceased mass killer, identified as David Kozak, was said to be an "excellent student" with "no criminal record" who was legally licensed to own multiple firearms and ammunition, several of which he brought to the school with him, and is believed to have been inspired to act by similar recent murderous rampages at schools in Russia.

Rare mass shooting in Czech Republic

According to Reuters, gun crime generally -- and mass shootings in particular -- are exceptionally rare in the Czech Republic with only a couple of major incidents occurring over the past decade, which has led to the development of complacency among some about the potential for such threats to public safety.

Indeed, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told the local media, "We always thought that this was a thing that did not concern us. Now it turns out that, unfortunately, our world is also changing and the problem of the individual shooter is emerging here as well."

Czech officials, including President Petr Pavel, have condemned the shooting and offered condolences to the victims of the attack. The government also declared Dec. 23 to be a national day of mourning for those who lost their lives in the university shooting.

Likewise, Fox News reported that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement, "The president and the first lady are praying for the families who lost loved ones and everyone else who has been affected by this senseless act of violence on behalf of the United States."

A similar message came from the U.S. State Department, which said the nation was "deeply saddened by the tragic mass shooting at Charles University in Prague" and that "We offer our sympathies to the victims, their families, and the Czech people in this difficult time. We stand in solidarity, ready to support."

Police tipped off ahead of shooting; shooter killed himself when confronted

According to The Independent and a timeline of events it compiled, Czech police were actually tipped off around noon on Thursday by a friend of Kozak that he was suicidal and might be planning some sort of incident. That led to a search of Kozak's home just 20 minutes later that revealed the suspect's dead father.

A nationwide search was launched just hours after that discovery and the university was alerted that it was a likely target about an hour before the shooting began on an upper floor and a rooftop balcony of the school, with police responding just moments later.

According to one police official, the gunman was eventually cornered on a balcony by officers and dropped the scoped rifle he had been using. The official said, "He was left with a shotgun which does not have long range, and when we were nearing the balcony he decided to commit suicide."

Shooter suspected to have acted alone; linked to separate murders a week earlier

Following the university mass shooting and search of Kozak's home, Czech police were able to ballistically match one of the shooter's weapons with the random murder about a week earlier of a man and his infant daughter walking in the Klanovicky forest outside Prague.

Fox News noted that Czech officials said they believe the shooter acted alone without any accomplices and that there were no apparent links to terrorism.

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