OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – A 42-year-old gunman killed six people on Tuesday at a hospital waiting room in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava before fleeing and fatally shooting himself in the head, police said.
It was the worst shooting in the Czech Republic, where gun crime is relatively rare, since a man shot eight people dead and then killed himself at a restaurant in Uhersky Brod in 2015.
It was unclear what motivated the shooting, which happened in the early morning at the outpatient clinic of the University Hospital in Ostrava, 350 km (217 miles) east of the capital Prague and near the border with Poland.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters it was an “individual act”.
The shooter fled the hospital after the attack, prompting a manhunt involving hundreds of officers. He later shot himself in the head at his car with a police helicopter flying overhead.
He died about a half an hour later after police failed to resuscitate him, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said outside the hospital. “The perpetrator of this horrendous act is dead.”
Czech Radio, citing the director of the firm where he worked, identified the suspect as a local construction technician and said he had been on medical leave.
Reuters could not immediately confirm that.
Police said they received calls at 7:19 a.m. (0619 GMT) and officers were on the scene five minutes later.
Hospital director Jiri Havrlant told reporters five people died in the attack and one died in surgery. Another two were seriously injured but no medics were hurt, he said.
Victims had been shot at close range, he said. They were all adults: four men and two women.
The head of the regional police department, Tomas Kuzel, said the attacker was silent as he carried out the shooting and there was no indication of accomplices.
Police dispatched two helicopters to hunt him. “When the helicopter was over the car, the perpetrator shot himself in the head,” Kuzel said. “He died from self-inflicted wounds.”
December 10, 2019
Reporting by Radovan Stoklasa in Ostrava, Robert Muller, Jan Lopatka and Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Andrew CawthorneOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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