In 'Stunned' Prague, Nobody Mentions the Gunman

'He doesn't deserve it,' says one mourner, and police ask university shooter not be identified
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2023 9:08 AM CST
In 'Stunned' Prague, Nobody Mentions the Gunman
A woman cries outside the headquarters of Charles University for victims of mass shooting in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Dec. 22, 2023.   (AP Photo/Denes Erdos)

The university shooting that claimed the lives of 14 victims in Prague on Thursday was the Czech Republic's first-ever school or college shooting, reports CNN. In fact, it's the nation's worst mass shooting since the end of World War II, notes the New York Times. "Stunned" is the word used by the BBC to describe the mood of people paying their respects at a makeshift shrine outside Charles University. The story also points out that nobody seemed interested in discussing the gunman. "He doesn't deserve it," one woman tells the outlet. "It's very upsetting. I still can't really process that it really happened."

What's more, police have asked that the gunman not be identified, to deprive him of the notoriety he apparently sought. They have described him only as a 24-year-old student at the university, per the AP. Authorities say he killed his father before the university shooting, as well as a man and his infant daughter on Dec. 15, also in Prague. Police have not discussed a possible motive as they investigate the man's social media postings, including one that suggested he was inspired by a mass school shooting in Russia, per Reuters. The gunman, who also wounded 25 people, fatally shot himself on a university balcony as police closed in. (Some outlets are naming him.)

"When I saw the amount of ammunition, the weapons that he brought, what he was prepared for, I can only thank my officers for their quick action—they prevented many more deaths," said Prague police chief Petr Matejcek. Police had a report from a friend of the gunman's that he might kill himself and were searching for him at a different university building when the shooting erupted, reports Reuters. Authorities say the shooter legally owned several guns, and the Times notes that the "Czech Republic, unlike most European countries, has a relatively permissive approach to gun ownership." Mass shootings, however, have been rare. (More Prague stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.