News – Gunman on rampage in Slovak capital
News BRATISLAVA: A gunman shot himself dead after killing at least six people and wounding 14 in a rampage on a street of the Slovakian capital yesterday.
The attack on a reportedly Roma household by a man aged about 50 started in the outer Bratislava suburb of Devinska Nova Ves at about 10am (6pm AEST).
Slovak police commander Jaroslav Spisiak said last night the first officers arrived as the gunman was leaving the apartment block in which he had killed four women and a man, before shooting a male relative outside. “He ran only a few metres, shooting at everything that moved. More officers came, surrounded him, and he had no choice but to commit suicide,” Mr Spisiak said.
Emergency services spokeswoman Dominika Sulkova said seven people had died in the rampage at a housing estate in the northwestern district of the city.
“Fourteen people including a three-year-old child were taken to hospital, while light injuries were treated on the spot,” Ms Sulkova added, saying the child’s life was not in danger. The death toll might rise. “Out of the wounded, three people suffered serious injuries,” she said. Marta Vozbranukova, a teacher working at a kindergarten close to the scene, said she had witnessed part of the rampage.
“I saw an older man carrying an automatic gun walking towards a prefab house,” she said. “After a while, an injured man of Roma origin, whose family lives in the house, ran out and fell on the ground where the gunman shot him two or three more times. “The gunman then started shooting on the street.”
The SME daily said on its website earlier that the gunman might have been a 15-year-old drug addict who shot himself dead after the rampage. The TA3 news channel suggested there might have been two gunmen. It said one of the victims was a police officer. Witnesses quoted by TA3 said the shooting took place on a busy street near a supermarket.
Local authorities told the SITA news agency they had warned people through loudspeakers not to go out or near their windows after getting a tip from the police. “We had verified information from the police so we warned the people,” the mayor of Devinska Nova Ves, Vladimir Mraz, told the news agency.
The police sealed off the neighbourhood and several buses were redirected from the district, but officers refused to comment on the shooting, saying they were still investigating.
TA3 said the police squad had already left the district which remained closed, and that the police were still refusing to let people enter the housing estate and were checking cars leaving the area. The news channel said the gunman reportedly opened fire at a flat in a prefabricated building, then ran out into the street to shoot at windows.
The rampage is one of the worst mass shootings in the history of the Central European country, which joined the European Union in 2004.