- Police said they received calls early in the morning about a shooting at Ostrava University Hospital.
- It is a catastrophe, I do not understand at all the reason for such aggression," Prime Minister Andrej Babis said.
- "I'm with you in my heart, I'm thinking of you in these tragic hours," President Milos Zeman said.
A man stormed a hospital and opened fire in a hospital in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and killed six people before fleeing and committing suicide on Tuesday. This is the worst attack in the country since 2015, when another gunman shot eight people, and was later killed in a restaurant in the southeastern city of Uhersky Brod. It is not yet known what provoked and angered the man to the extent of carrying out such an inhuman attack.
Police said they received calls early in the morning about a shooting at Ostrava University Hospital, 350 kilometers east of the capital, Prague, and near the Polish border. Authorities arrived at the scene five minutes later. The shooting took place in a room in the hospital’s traumatology unit, according to the DNES newspaper website.
“There were four dead and two injured people, who unfortunately died too,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babis. “The victims were people who were waiting in the trauma service, fortunately, there were not as many people as usual,” he added. Three other people were injured in the attack.
After the attack, the shooter fled in a silver vehicle, but was soon found by the authorities. “They found the attacker. He later shot himself in the head in his car as a police helicopter flew overhead,” the Prime Minister said. Babis described the shooting as an “immense tragedy.” He added, “it’s something we’re not used to in our country.” Babis also said “the attacker shot point-blank at the head and neck . . . It is a catastrophe, I do not understand at all the reason for such aggression.”
“Police found the car, there was shooting heard from the site. We are establishing the identity of the man who shot himself in the head,” Czech police Tweeted. Czech President Milos Zeman mourned the dead by sending a message of condolence to the families of the victims. “I’m with you in my heart, I’m thinking of you in these tragic hours.” he wrote.
Police said they received a call with a warning about the shooting at 7:19 AM (3:19 am GMT). A technical university next to the hospital interrupted classes and was closed as a precaution. The suspect’s photo was posted on social networks during the search operation. A crisis cell was set up in Ostrava, a town 300 km east of Prague, to command the action.
This type of shooting is rare in the Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million inhabitants, and a member of the European Union (EU). In March, a patient from a Prague hospital shot two other patients after a discussion in a room. One of the men died in the incident. In February 2015, a restaurant customer in Uhersky Brod City opened fire and killed eight people before committing suicide.