Czech Republic: Gunman shoots himself after killing six people in hospital

The deadly attack happened in one of the waiting rooms of the hospital in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava.

Police released this image in connection with the shooting
Image: The suspect, a 42-year-old man, shot himself
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Six people have been killed and three more were wounded in a shooting in a hospital in the Czech Republic.

The suspected gunman shot himself as police approached his car after a huge manhunt that involved several hundred officers and two helicopters, officials said.

Police said on Twitter: "Police found the car, there was shooting heard from the site. We are establishing the identity of the man who shot himself in the head before the police action."

Police officers are seen near the site of a shooting in front of a hospital in Ostrava, Czech Republic, December 10, 2019.   REUTERS/Lukas Kabon
Image: Police officers outside the hospital in Ostrava

The 42-year-old man died from his injuries about half an hour later, interior minister Jan Hamacek said.

He added there was "no danger anymore" to the public.

The motive for the hospital attack remains unclear.

Officers said the gunman's mother was cooperating with authorities.

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The shooting happened in one of the waiting rooms of the hospital in the eastern city of Ostrava.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the gunman was aiming at people's heads.

He told a news conference: "He came home and announced he had shot people, and that he is going to shoot himself."

The gunman was identified as Ctirad Vitasek, who was a construction technician for AZ-Intergrips. The firm's chairman Ales Zygula confirmed the identity.

Mr Zygula said Vitasek had been on medical leave for a month and a half, and that he was convinced he was seriously ill and no one would cure him.

Police said Vitasek had a criminal record, including violence and theft.

According to local reports, the shooting took place in the hospital's trauma unit. The nearby university is said to have been closed for the day, with lectures cancelled.

The victims were four men and two women, none of them medics. Five died in the attack and another in surgery.

Another man and a woman had to be operated on.

Video footage from the hospital scene showed police making an arrest but there was no confirmation on who that was.

On Twitter, Czech Police said: "We are currently strengthening the supervision of selected soft targets across the Czech Republic."

The clinic was evacuated.

Police released this image of someone appearing to walk through the hospital
Image: Police released this image of the suspect walking through the hospital
A police officer is seen at a road blockade, as police checks cars after a shooting at Ostrava's University Hospital, near the Slovak-Czech border crossing in Bila, Czech Republic, December 10, 2019. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa
Image: Police at a road blockade after tracking down the suspect

Police said they got the first call at 7.19am local time, and the first patrols arrived at 7.24am. After the shooting, police launched the manhunt for the suspect and his grey Renault Laguna car.

Adam Vojtech, the country's health minister, told newspaper Lidovky it was a "huge tragedy".

He is cutting short a trip abroad to return to the Czech Republic.

Mr Babis has also cancelled his day's programme to go to the hospital.

Police outside the hospital in Ostrava
Image: Police outside the hospital in Ostrava

The president's spokesman, Jiri Ovacacek, expressed condolences to the survivors, saying: "I am with you in my heart, I am thinking of you in these tragic hours."

It is the worst shooting in the country since 2015 when a man shot eight people dead and then killed himself in a restaurant in Uhersky Brod.