Jacob Wiseman, a Danish scholar at Charles College in Prague, was taking an examination on Thursday when he began listening to gunshots and screaming.
He mentioned his first intuition was shock, as he by no means thought there can be a faculty capturing close to him in Europe.
“I’ve lived in america for a really very long time,” he instructed CNN afterward. “If it had occurred wherever, it could have occurred in america.” “Now it’s spreading like a illness in Europe as nicely.”
He pointed to the latest spate of shootings elsewhere on the continent, saying: “You see this occurring in Denmark, Serbia, and now right here. That is extremely scary, you realize?”
Weissman and his professor closed the door to the examination room, barricaded it with chairs and tables, and remained inside for an hour till the police arrived and escorted them out of the constructing.
The gunman killed no less than 14 individuals and wounded 25 others, within the deadliest mass capturing the Czech Republic has seen in a long time. Police mentioned the gunman, a 24-year-old man, was a scholar on the college’s School of Arts, however he had not been formally recognized because of the severity of his accidents. He didn’t point out his title.
Authorities are nonetheless investigating the motive.
Weisman mentioned that as a global scholar, he had totally different examine circles than native Czech college students and subsequently didn’t know the shooter.
Weissman instructed CNN that he and his trainer barricaded the classroom door after they heard what appeared like gunshots and screaming.
The Czech Republic is the newest in a string of European international locations to undergo a mass capturing of the sort that has grow to be ubiquitous in america.
In June 2022, a gunman killed three individuals and wounded a number of others in a mall within the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Gun violence is comparatively uncommon in Denmark, which has one of the vital restrictive gun legal guidelines in Europe.
In Could this yr, Serbia was left reeling after two mass shootings in lower than 48 hours. A 13-year-old boy killed no less than eight youngsters and a safety guard at his college within the capital, Belgrade; Simply at some point later, a 21-year-old gunman carrying an automated weapon killed eight individuals within the village of Dobona.
Gun possession is excessive in Serbia, however the mass shootings we see every day in america are extraordinarily uncommon within the Balkan nation. Till Could, college shootings have been just about extraordinary in Serbia.
Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Photos
Police evacuate Charles College college students after a capturing on December 21, 2023 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Juliette Kayyem, CNN’s senior nationwide safety analyst and former assistant secretary of Homeland Safety, mentioned there’s a threat of copycat habits relating to mass shootings within the Web age.
“That is the type of social media tradition the place these individuals are glorified,” she added. “Social media has no borders, so individuals in different international locations will begin following it or copying it, or seeing the type of notoriety that will get created.”
She cautioned that with the capturing in Prague, the gunman’s motives are nonetheless beneath investigation, however his social media networks will undoubtedly be a part of that investigation.
The Prague gunman had a gun allow and possessed a number of weapons, in keeping with Czech Police Chief Martin Vondracek.
The Czech Republic has comparatively liberal gun legal guidelines in comparison with the remainder of the European Union. To legally acquire a gun, an individual wants an official firearms license, which requires a medical examination, a weapons proficiency take a look at, and no prior prison report.
Based on official police statistics, greater than 300,000 individuals have authorized permits to personal a weapon. As of 2022, roughly a million legally owned weapons are formally registered within the Czech Republic.
However this capturing might spark a bigger nationwide debate about gun possession and restrictions. Though the nation has extra liberal gun possession guidelines than lots of its neighbours, questions will probably be raised about whether or not the Czech Republic ought to undertake “a number of the strictest legal guidelines throughout the European Union,” Kayim mentioned.
In america, firearm possession is a constitutional proper and is far more widespread than in Europe. There are 120 weapons for each 100 Individuals, in keeping with the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey (SAS). No different nation has extra civilian weapons than individuals.
In america, there have been 642 mass shootings to date this yr, in keeping with the Gun Violence Archive. Greater than 80 capturing incidents occurred at colleges and universities, in keeping with a CNN evaluation.
Practically 42 million Individuals — greater than one-eighth of the U.S. inhabitants — are estimated to have lived inside a mile of a mass capturing since 2014, in keeping with a CNN evaluation of knowledge from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) and the U.S. Census Bureau.