Police officer held over fatal stabbing of US citizen

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A 27-year old Czech police officer is being held over a stabbing in the early hours of Wednesday, which resulted in the death a US citizen. The incident happened sometime after 1 am, after the officer, who was off-duty and apparently drunk, made obscene gestures at a passing car. The American driver stopped and got out of his vehicle, resulting in a quarrel which led to the fatal attack.

So far there are few details and the questions are many: just what led to the fatal stabbing of a US citizen in Prague? The incident unravelled in the early hours of the morning near the city’s Sazka Arena, and soon got out of control. When it was over, one man lay dead. The suspect in the case, an off-duty officer reportedly drunk, appears to have sparked the incident by making obscene gestures at the driver of a car, the 44-year old American who stopped his vehicle.

An argument ensued, leading to the attack, and the American was stabbed in the heart. He died at the scene. The murder weapon? A tiny pocket knife, known as a “rybička” or little fish. After the incident, the officer was found sitting on the pavement with head down and shoulders slumped; he was taken into custody to be questioned after sobering up.

On Wednesday a number of news sites speculated over the victim’s identity: reportedly, he was an employee of a private US company working in Germany for the US Department of Defense; the US Embassy in Prague confirmed he had not been in the capital on business, also adding that he was a civilian, not a solider, as had been reported by some news sites earlier. The deceased man’s identity has been kept secret for the sake of protecting his family. As for the suspect in the case? Before Wednesday’s incident, he had been described as a capable officer; he had been on the force for one year. Now, he has been charged with murder.

Police have appealed to any witnesses to come forward to help their investigation, in particular one man believed to have been walking a dog near the scene at the time of the incident. The police are aiming to discount conflicting stories: a number of reports have suggested a broader brawl took place which involved not just the two men but also others. Ambulance crew had reported that more weapons were spotted at the site, including bars and brass knuckles. But a security camera near the scene is said to have captured the presence of only two in the fight – presumably the suspect and the American victim.