A man shot and killed six people at a hospital in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava early Tuesday morning, setting off a manhunt that ended when the suspected gunman killed himself as police were closing in.
In addition to the six dead, three people were injured, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said in an update about what he called a “huge tragedy.”
The shooting started inside the hospital, as NPR’s Rob Schmitz reports from Berlin: “Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Czech Television the shootings occurred at close range in the waiting room, while a doctor inside the hospital told the local media that staff had been locked in a hallway waiting for the emergency to end.”
Czech Police say the gunman, 42, started shooting inside the University Hospital in Ostrava shortly after 7 a.m. local time. The first responders arrived five minutes later, to find that the suspect had fled, driving a silver Renault Laguna.
The man’s photo and the license plate number of his car were broadly disseminated, as police asked the public to help them find the gunman. Officers tracked down the car — and the suspect, who hasn’t yet been identified, shot himself in the head, Czech Police say.
Prime Minister Babis visited Ostrava in the wake of the shooting, canceling a planned visit by Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas so he could meet with local officials and those affected by the attack.
“It’s a crazy tragedy,” Babis said via Twitter.
Citing the “extraordinary event,” the hospital says that while its campus is open, the clinic building where the attack unfolded is closed for the day, open only to patients on dialysis who need treatment.