A man with a history of mental illness shot dead eight people in a restaurant in an eastern Czech town and then killed himself, the town’s mayor said. It was the worst shooting attack in the country’s history.
The attack took place in Uhersky Brod.
The town of 17,000 lies 300km (185 miles) south-east of Prague, the Czech capital, and is home to the Ceska Zbrojovka gun plant.
Czech public radio said the gunman called a local television station before the attack, complaining that police were not solving his problems and threatening that he will “take things into his hands”.
“I have been given information that it was a 60-year-old local man, probably mentally unstable,” the mayor, Patrik Kuncar, told Czech television.
“We can see that, here, probably, a lone shooter struck with no warning”, he added, while ruling out an act of terrorism.
The local prosecutor said that the gunman had no previous criminal history.
The broadcaster said the attacker fired about 25 rounds at lunchtime in the Druzba, or “friendship”, restaurant in a residential district of the town.
The gunman then took his own life.
The owner of the restaurant told idnes.cz (a news website): “An unknown person came in, took out a short weapon and started firing on people.
“I, along with the other guests, who later called the police, immediately fled out the back exit.
At first we thought it was a pistol until we saw an injured woman running out, and then it was clear,” he said.
A woman injured in the incident was admitted to hospital in the nearby town of Uherske Hradiste, a hospital spokeswoman said.
A witness told the broadcaster that he had seen around 10 police cars arrive and police putting on bulletproof vests.
Such shooting incidents are very rare in the Czech Republic, a central European country of 10.5 million. Uhersky Brod is a town of 17,000 in the Moravia region, near the border with Slovakia.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec flew to the scene of the attack along with police commander Tomas Tuhy.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in a statement: “I am shocked by the tragic attack that happened today in Uhersky Brod.
“I would like to express my deepest sorrow and condolences to the families and relatives of the victims,” he said.
Mayor Patrik Kuncar said: “I’m rattled by this event. I never would have imagined something like this happening here, in a restaurant that I know well.”
Nerves are running high across Europe after the deadly Islamist attacks in Paris in January that left 17 people dead, and the Copenhagen shootings earlier this month that claimed two lives.
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