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Mass shooting in Ostrava hospital claims at least six lives; suspected shooter later kills self

A shooting in an Ostrava hospital has claimed several lives and the police are intervening on the scene today

A shooting at an Ostrava hospital has claimed several lives this morning, and Czech Police are currently intervening on the scene, according to official reports.

Czech Police initially reported the number of deaths at four, but later raised that number to six. Regional governor Ivo Vondrák and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš subsequently confirmed six dead and two seriously injured.

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The attacker fled the scene and police later located his vehicle near Ostrava, where he apparently committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

11:20 Update: According to Moravian-Silesian Region Police Director Tomas Kuzel, the suspect held the handgun illegally.

Security measures at Prague hospitals are currently being increased, and tonight’s demonstration against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at Wenceslas Square will also have increased police presence.

11:11 Update: The suspected shooter has been identified as 42-year-old Ostrava resident and construction engineer Ctirad V. in local media reports.

“He got into his head that he was seriously ill and that no one wanted to treat him. He went everywhere,” his boss Aleš Zygula, who recognized his photo in media reports, told Radiožurnál.

“He did not go to work last month, he was off, he came 14 days ago to say he was on sick leave. I don’t want to talk more about it.”

10:50 Update: The attacker who killed six people in the Ostrava teaching hospital this morning is probably dead as the police found his car and are now checking the identity of the dead man who shot himself in his head, the police have said.

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Shortly before, the police announced that they knew the attacker’s name, published his photo and said that he was driving in a Renault Laguna car with the licence plate 9T57401.

The man who killed six and injured another two persons used a short firearm. All the killed persons were patients. The police do not yet know the man’s motive, while personal reasons are being speculated about.

10:36 Update: Police have located the vehicle in question and heard shots fired at the scene. The suspect has apparently shot himself in the head, and police are currently attempting to identify him.

10:15 Update: Police have posted a new image of the shooter to Twitter and officially updated the death toll to six:

Police have identified the shooter as driving a silver-gray Renault Laguna with the license plate 9T57401.

The perpetrator is dangerous and probably armed; citizens are urged not attempt to confront him and call 158 immediately if spotted.

10:07 Update: Czech Police are increasing the patrolling of selected ‘soft targets’ across the country after the mass shooting in the Ostrava teaching hospital with six fatalities this morning.

Soft targets are defined as publicly accessible places at which many people can appear at the same time and that are not permanently protected. These are airports, railways, marketplaces, large trade centers and public rallies.

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The police have asked the public for patience and consideration.

An attacker, still at large, shot dead six people in the Ostrava hospital in the morning.

9:49 Update: The man originally identified by police in security camera footage is an important witness, but not a suspect, according to the latest reports.

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Police have removed his photograph from Twitter, though it has widely spread through both local and international media.

9:30 Update: The shooting in the Ostrava hospital claimed six victims today, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has said.

The police have started a search for the attacker, having asked the public for help.

The shooting occurred at the trauma center. A hospital worker has said the staff stay inside and must not go out. “All are nervous,” she said.

An emergency committee of the Ostrava town has met. Interior Minister Jan Hamacek is flying to the place.

Due to the shooting, the neighbouring VSB-Technical University Ostrava was closed. The school has closed its entries and informed the staff and students about the incident by radio.

9:19 Update: Police have posted an image of the shooter captured by security camera to Twitter:

Police are currently strengthening security at other locations across the Czech Republic thought to be potential targets.

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According to official information, police received the first reports of a shooting at 7:19 this morning, and were on the scene at 7:24.

8:57 Update: According to the official Twitter account of Czech Republic Police, initial estimates at the scene are four dead and two seriously wounded people.

Police are intently looking for the shooter, who is still at large. Anyone with information is urged to contact the police at line 158.

8:43 Update: The police have started a search for the perpetrator, and are asking the public for help.

The first shots could be heard in the Ostrava Teaching Hospital just after 7:00. The perpetrator was shooting from one of the hospital outpatient departments.

Special police teams including the Rapid Reaction Unit and police helicopters are intervening, Hamacek said.

A hospital worker has said the staff stay inside and must not go out. “All are nervous,” she said.

This is a developing story; we will add more information as it becomes available.

ČTK reports have contributed to this story.

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