They Showed a Photograph and Said He Was Probably Approaching: University Shares Timeline of Shooter’s Rampage

Jiří Forman

On Tuesday, Charles University released a timeline of events from their perspective on the day of the shooting at the Faculty of Philosophy, where a student killed 14 people and injured others. The university also thanked the police for their intervention, which prevented further loss of life.

According to the university, the first police visit to the faculty building occurred around half past one. At the gatehouse, uniformed police officers were speaking with the gatekeepers. Daniel Berounský, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, asked if they needed anything. One of the officers showed a photo of a suspect on his mobile phone and said that the individual was probably approaching the Faculty of Philosophy. He also received information that the young man was perhaps mentally disturbed and could be dangerous.

The actual attack happened shortly before three o’clock. The Dean, Eva Lehečková, described that at 14:52, when Christmas caroling was being prepared on the first floor, a colleague teaching on the fourth floor burst into the room in obvious distress.

The colleague reported an ongoing attack on the fourth floor, with furniture smashed and a person lying on the ground. The dean’s secretary called the 158 emergency line at 14:59. However, the operator’s response was skeptical, and the secretary had to explain that they were not joking and were a public building. They had an eyewitness and many students and teachers in the building.

The secretary, Zdeňka Filipová, described how they heard the shooting in the personal department’s premises a few moments later. She called the 158 emergency line at 15:04 and asked for instructions. She informed the operator that she was the faculty secretary and wanted to email employees, asking whether the directive was to evacuate the building and go outside or lock themselves in the office.

Even though some statements are critical of the police’s procedure, the leadership of Charles University expressed gratitude to the police for their intervention in the “unique and brutal attack.” “It is undeniable that due to the intervention on the main building of the Faculty of Philosophy on Jan Palach Square, it was possible to prevent greater loss of human lives. The management of Charles University and the Faculty of Philosophy also thanks everyone for providing crisis intervention and psychosocial help,” the university stated.