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Gunman kills 6 in Czech hospital before committing suicide

Published : 11 Dec 2019, 00:00

Updated : 11 Dec 2019, 00:03

  DF-Xinhua Report

Pixabay photo.

The attacker who shot six people dead at Ostrava University Hospital in the Czech Republic early on Tuesday has committed suicide, police said.

"The 42-year-old man shot himself in the head before the police hit. He's dead," the police tweeted.

Shortly before this tweet, the police announced that they knew the attacker's name, and published his photo and car plate.

The shooting happened shortly after 7:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) in a waiting room at the trauma center of the hospital in the northeastern Czech city of Ostrava. All the victims -- four men and two women -- were patients.

According to the police, the suspect used a handgun and shot into the crowded waiting room. Moravian-Silesian Region Police Director Tomas Kuzel said the suspect was in possession of the 9mm Czech-made firearm illegally.

The attacker was identified as an Ostrava resident and construction engineer. Police do not yet know the attacker's motive. But local media quoted his former boss as saying that he had been on leave for one month and was not in good state.

The neighboring VSB-Technical University of Ostrava is open again after it was closed earlier due to the shooting, and faculty and students are free to move about, said Chen Xushi, a Chinese student. In the meantime, the Czech police increased patrols in selected public areas like airports, railway stations, marketplaces and public squares.

Czech President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis, among other major government officials, expressed their condolences to the victims. Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said on Twitter that the president also thanked members of the security forces and the doctors and others who offered help.

Babis has canceled his two-day visit to Estonia and flew to the scene. Calling the incident "a big tragedy," he said that at noon on Dec. 17 sirens will sound for two minutes and 20 seconds in honor of the victims.

Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic. Ostrava University Hospital, with 1,100 beds, is the largest state-owned medical facility in north Moravia.

The last mass shooting in the country occurred in 2015 in the town of Uhersky Brod, where a gunman killed eight people before taking his own life.