News15 dead in University of Prague shooting: Holiday tourist hotspot becomes scene of horror

15 dead in University of Prague shooting: Holiday tourist hotspot becomes scene of horror

A shooting occurred at Charles University near Charles Bridge.
A shooting occurred at Charles University near Charles Bridge.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Stefan Simonovski

8:32 AM EST, December 22, 2023

The episode unfurled at Charles University's Department of Slavonic Studies, situated in Jan Palach Square. According to police reports, 15 people were left dead and 25 were injured.

Central Prague is the scene of the shooting

Charles University is nestled in the Old Town, just about half a mile away from the historic Charles Bridge, a hotspot for hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists every day. Shortly after the tragedy, Palach Square and several surrounding streets were shut down.

Intervening in the matter was the Czech Minister of the Interior, Vit Rakuszan. He urged citizens not to impede the duties of uniformed officers, saying "I want to reassure the public that they are not in immediate danger. There is no evidence to support the presence of a second shooter," quoted by the Czech outlet, Deník N.

The Minister dismissed any links between the shooting and international terrorism, also adding that he maintains regular contact with European Union services. The attacker acted independently and is no longer a threat to residents or tourists.

As reported by Michał Dobrołowicz, a journalist from RMF FM, "A portion of Prague is still off-limits to residents. The vicinity of Jan Palach Square, where yesterday's shooting occurred, is blockaded by police tape. There is still a significant police presence on the streets."

Prague sees a high influx of tourists during this time of the year. The renowned Christmas market, considered one of Europe's finest, is a particular crowd-puller. The picturesque Charles Bridge also shines even more in winter. Connecting the districts of Malá Strana and Staré Město, the bridge is one of the city's most iconic and frequently proliferated tourist points.

Czech Republic announces national mourning

In tribute to the victims, the government declared December 23 as a day of national mourning. "We encourage everyone to observe a minute's silence for the victims at 6:00 AM ET. We have requested provincial governors and state administration authorities to arrange for the ringing of bells across the Czech Republic at noon," urged Prime Minister Petr Fiala, as quoted by

Czech officials further instructed the Minister of Justice to ensure survivors' assistance when evaluating compensation claims under the criminal victimhood laws.

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