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The shooter, a 24-year-old man, was found dead at the scene by police, in the most serious shooting since the Czech Republic became an independent state in 1993, but which Czech authorities dismissed as “international terrorism”.

The act of violence, which occurred in the historic center of the Czech capital, at the Faculty of Arts, located close to important tourist sites, such as the 14th century Charles Bridge, provoked a mass intervention by heavily armed police.

Speaking to journalists, police chief Martin Vondrasek said that police began looking for the young man even before the shooting, after his father was found dead in the village of Hostoun, west of Prague.

The shooter “left for Prague saying he wanted to commit suicide”, he added.

Czech President Petr Pavel said he was “shocked by these events”, as he addressed his “sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the shooting”.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that the Government had decided to declare national mourning on December 23 and encouraged citizens to honor the victims with a minute of silence.

In Washington, the White House spokesman assured that “the President [Biden] and the First Lady are praying for the families who lost loved ones and for all those who were affected by this senseless act of violence.”

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, sent a message of compassion to Prague: “I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and the Czech people as a whole. We are with you and we mourn with you.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed solidarity with the Czech people, as did many other European leaders, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, also sent condolences to his Czech counterpart for the “heinous attack”.

The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, expressed himself “deeply shocked” and addressed “heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and all solidarity with the Czech people and Government”, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho , offered condolences for the “tragic and senseless act of violence”.

Although mass armed violence is uncommon in the Czech Republic, the country has recorded a few cases in recent years.

In 2015, a 63-year-old killer shot dead seven men and a woman before committing suicide in a restaurant in the city of Uhersky Brod, in the southeast of the country.

In 2019, a man killed six people in a hospital waiting room in the eastern city of Ostrava, with a woman dying days later. The attacker also committed suicide, around three hours after the attack.

Read Also: Gomes Cravinho “shocked” by “senseless act of violence” in Prague

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