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Massacre at Prague university by student gunman

A police officer is seen running at the location of the shooting at Charles University in Prague.

A police officer is seen running at the location of the shooting at Charles University in Prague. Photo: Getty

A student gunman has killed at least 15 people and injured at least 24 others at a university in the Czech capital, Prague.

Czech police said shortly after 3pm local time on Thursday that they were responding to the shooting at Charles University’s faculty of arts building in Jan Palach Square, before reporting the shooter had been “eliminated”.

Police said the gunman was a 24-year-old from a village 21 kilometres outside Prague. The suspect’s father was found dead earlier in the day, BBC reported.

The mass shooting is not linked to international terrorism, Vit Rakusan, the Czech minister of the interior, said.

Journalist Massimo Parolisi told Britain’s Sky News the gunman “took inspiration” from a mass shooting in Russia.

“We always thought that this was a thing that did not concern us. Now it turns out that, unfortunately, our world is also changing and the problem of the individual shooter is emerging here as well,” Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told Czech television.

‘Terribly scary’

Petr Nedoma, director of the Rudolfinum Gallery at a concert hall across Palach Square, told Czech TV he saw the shooter.

“I saw a young person on the gallery who had some weapon in his hand, like and automatic weapon, and shooting toward the Manes Bridge,” he said.

“Repeatedly, with some interruptions, then I saw as he shot, put hands up and threw the weapon down on the street, it lay there on the pedestrian crossing.”

Police sealed off the square and the area adjacent to the building, located in a busy part of town that has a popular street leading tourists to Old Town Square.

Students of Charles University being evacuated by police. Photo: Getty

A Czech TV live broadcast showed ambulances and police cars with flashing lights lined up alongside the building, accompanied by the sound of sirens.

One witness told news website iDnes.cz that they got off at the tram stop by the school and “suddenly I heard shooting”.

Klara, a student, told the news website she was among those who police evacuated from the building.

“It was terribly scary, there were a lot of policemen everywhere, who were shouting at us with submachine guns, telling us to run outside,” she said.

An email sent to staff and students had said the shooter was in one of the buildings.

“Don’t go anywhere, if you’re in the offices, lock them and place furniture in front of the door, turn off the lights,” the email said.

X users posted photos and video of a group of students, hiding crouched on a ledge of the building.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala had cancelled his trip to the east of the country and was en route to Prague, he said on X.

Gun crime is relatively rare in the Czech Republic. In December 2019, a 42-year-old gunman killed six people at a hospital waiting room in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava before fleeing and fatally shooting himself, police said.

In 2015, a man fatally shot eight people and then killed himself at a restaurant in Uhersky Brod.

-with AAP

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