Staff, students visit Prague faculty month after shooting

The 24-year-old targeted fellow students, teachers and random pedestrians before killing himself

By AFP

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Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Published: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 6:57 PM

Students and staff gathered at a faculty of Prague's Charles University on Sunday to mark a month since a deadly shooting there left 14 dead and 25 wounded.

Faculty of Arts dean Eva Leheckova hailed the one-day reopening as a "huge step in the healing process".

"The building has been rather quiet for a month and we are looking forward to the usual hustle and bustle," she told reporters.

The Czech Republic was left reeling on December 21, when a student walked into the faculty building in Prague's historic centre and opened fire.

The 24-year-old targeted fellow students, teachers and random pedestrians before killing himself.

As the faculty reopened its ground floor, some lecture room doors were still not on their hinges and access to the top floors was blocked with black curtains.

Vice-dean Martin Pehal said the school would organise lectures, a book swap and art performances on Sunday.

At an art workshop, people could take part in creating a memorial using wax from candles left at the university by mourners in the wake of the shooting.

The brief reopening was inspired "by the academic community's need to physically return to the building" and by advice from psychologists who advocated a speedy return.

Art history student Adela Hanzalkova told AFP she hoped to find a quiet moment at the busy gathering to properly reflect on the tragedy.

"We've only been here for a moment so it hasn't sunk in yet. We're leaving it till later," she said.

Leheckova said the university would reopen for lectures on February 19, though the fourth floor, the focus of the shooting, would for now remain closed.

The school said students would not be required to take exams after the winter term.

Police said the gunman also killed two randomly chosen people -- a young father and his two-month-old daughter -- on the outskirts of Prague on December 15.

The man, whose motives have not been revealed, also killed his own father at their home.

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