Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Nobody believed anything like this could happen'

"The man walked in and started shooting with a handgun," said Pavel Karlik, the restaurant's shaken owner.

"I immediately ran out through the back door, along with other guests, who then called ambulance and police," he added.

"Nobody believed anything like that could happen in such a small town," Interior Minister Milan Kuncar said.

"I can hardly imagine what consequences it will have for the future life in this town."

The country's chief police officer, Tomas Tuhy, said authorities wouldn't reveal more information in the coming hours because of the ongoing investigation.

A waitress was shot in the chest and has undergone hour-long surgery, said Dana Lipovska, a spokesman for the hospital in the nearby town of Uherske Hradiste. Her condition remains "very serious," he said.

Czech public radio said the gunman called a local TV station before the attack, complaining that police weren't solving his problems and threatening that he would "take things into his hands."

The Czech Republic has strict gun-control laws, but hunting is popular in the eastern European nation.

The Czech Republic became an independent nation in 1993 after the split of Czechoslovakia.

In a tragedy of a similar scope in the communist Czechoslovakia, a female driver intentionally drove her truck into a group of people waiting for a tram in Prague, killing eight. She was later executed.

Petr Gabriel was in the restaurant's bathroom when the shooting began.

"That saved my life," Mr Gabriel told Czech public television. He spent two hours in the bathroom until he was found by police.

Some 20 people were thought to have been in the Druzba restaurant at the time of the shooting.

The gunman has been described as a local man believed to be around 60 years of age.

Irish Independent

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