A shocking act of violence unfolded at the Charles University in Prague, leaving more than 15 people dead in one of the worst mass shootings in recent European history. The attack began on Thursday around 15:00 local time at the Faculty of Arts, causing devastation and panic as the gunman, later identified as 24-year-old David Kozak, opened fire in the building's hallways and classrooms.
Dramatic social media footage captured the chaos, showing people jumping to safety from upper floors while gunshots echoed in the background. The Prague police have confirmed that the gunman, a student at the university, was "eliminated" during the incident.
They also revealed that a significant cache of weapons and ammunition was found in his possession, despite having no criminal record.
Unraveling the Motives
David Kozak's path to violence began in the small village of Hostoun, where he shot his father before heading to Prague.
He was a student at the Institute of World History, part of the Faculty of Arts, and was reportedly an engaged academic, having received an award earlier this year for his graduate thesis. The reasons that led him to carry a gun to the main building of the Faculty of Arts, instead of attending a scheduled lecture in a different university building, remain a mystery.
Police Chief Martin Vondrasek suggested that Kozak's actions were influenced by an external event, potentially the December 7 shooting in Bryansk, Russia, where a 14-year-old girl committed a similar act of violence. This hypothesis, while unconfirmed, points to a tragic pattern of copycat incidents.
The Czech Republic's President Petr Pavel expressed his profound sadness and frustration at the needless loss of life. Meanwhile, the police are investigating Kozak's possible connection to the recent deaths of two other people.
This tragedy has left the nation and the international community in mourning, raising questions about security measures in educational institutions and the underlying causes that drive such senseless acts of violence.