Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives

Photo: ČTK/Jaroslav Ožana

A gunman killed six people in a waiting room in Ostrava’s Faculty hospital on Tuesday. The motive of the attack is still unclear, and the victims were shot in the head and neck at close range. The attacker who escaped from the scene later shot himself in the head as well.

Photo: ČTK/Jaroslav Ožana

The deadly attack happened in an outpatient’s waiting room in the Ostrava Faculty Hospital at 7.20 am on Tuesday morning. The attacker, whose face was caught on one of the hospital’s security cameras, walked in and shot at least eight people from close range aiming for their head and neck. Five died on the spot, a sixth patient died after undergoing emergency surgery. Two others, who also underwent surgery are fighting for their lives.

The suspect of the attack,  photo: archive of Czech Police
The man escaped from the scene as the first police units arrived in response to an emergency call. Police closed off the hospital, the neighbouring medical school as well as the immediate vicinity, posting the man’s picture on Twitter and issuing a serious warning to the public to not try to apprehend the perpetrator alone since he was armed and dangerous.

Head of regional police Tomáš Kužel briefed the public via radio and television:

“The suspect is on the run and we now know his identity. We know who he is and what car he is driving. We have his photograph and his car‘s license plate number. And we are working to apprehend him as quickly as possible.“

As the police closed in, the suspect shot himself in the head.

Meanwhile, condolences poured in from people around the country as the nation waited for more details of the tragedy. The prime minister and interior minister headed for the scene expressing deep sorrow over the loss of lives. Social networks quickly filled with messages from politicians and common people, sending condolences and expressing their grief and solidarity with the families of the victims.

The one question everyone wants answered is “why?”. For the time being the motive behind this horrific crime remains a mystery, but the police are hoping to unravel the story by questioning the man’s family and friends.

Czech Radio reported that the man was a construction engineer whose boss said had become convinced he was seriously ill and no-one wanted to treat him.