Czech gunman announced killing spree to television station

Killer (62) who shot eight dead acted alone and had no terrorist motive, say authorities

A 62-year-old Czech man who shot eight people dead before killing himself yesterday afternoon phoned a television station minutes earlier to announce his shooting spree.

Authorities in the eastern Czech town of Uhersky Brod, near the Slovak border, said the local man who fired about 25 shots had acted alone, was a "crazed individual" and had no terrorist motive.

At 12.56pm yesterday a reporter with private television station Prima received a phone call from a man who said he was in Uhersky Brod, a small town of 17,000 people in the eastern Czech Republic. He told the reporter to send a television crew to the town as something was going to happen.


When the reporter asked for more details, the caller said he was being bullied by people and that the authorities had been no help.


“I’ll sort it myself,” he reportedly told the reporter. He said he was on Marianske Square in the square, that he was armed and was going to harm people. After he hung up the television reporter called the police. Shortly after 1pm the shooting started when, brandishing two handguns, the man entered the Druzba (Best Man) pub.

An eyewitness described the attack as “mindless shooting”. Another eyewitness, who believed he passed the gunman on his way to the toilet, said about 20 people were on the premises during the lunchtime rush.

According to Czech media reports it was this eyewitness who, from the toilet, alerted police to the attack. At about 3.30pm riot police broke into the pub and locals reported hearing a “deafening detonation” and further shots.

All the victims were said to be local residents. Many other diners were injured in the shooting spree, with at least one woman hospitalised suffering serious chest injuries. Police said later the man had turned the gun on himself.

Local mayor Patrik Kuncar said the man had begun "shooting indiscriminately" and that the act was an "isolated incident" with no terrorism links.

“I assume this was an isolated incident, Mr Kuncar told Czech state television. “I’m rattled by this event. I never would’ve imagined something like this happening here, in a restaurant I know well.”

Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka expressed his sympathies to the victims of the shocking attack, while interior minister Milan Chovanec described the mass killing as the work of a "crazed individual".

A spokesman for Czech president Miloš Zeman said the head of state was “shocked by this murderous attack”.

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin