Prague Mass Murder Shows Copycat Killings are NOT Limited to the USA


Faculty of Arts Building in Prague, from Wikipedia, by Jana Palacha. Killer is reported to have operated from the top balcony, above the fourth story (American count). VitVit, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Faculty of Arts Building in Prague, from Wikipedia, by Jana Palacha. Killer is reported to have operated from the top balcony, above the fourth story (American count). VitVit, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

On December 21, 2023, a student at Charles University in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, killed about 14 people and injured about two dozen others in a planned and premeditated mass murder.

The killer used a rifle with a telescopic sight and is said to have had a number of other firearms with him. The murderer used the advantage of the height of a multistory building to see the people he was targeting and as a way to shield him from immediate response.

I believe it was on May 30, 2022, in Boise Idaho, Ed Monk and I were presenters at an armed self-defense course. In his presentation about active killers, Ed Monk predicted the world would experience more mass murders conducted from a height advantage. As I recall, Ed said active mass killers studied the active mass murders of others to see what techniques worked.

Ed believed some would use the Las Vegas active mass murder as a template, in part because it took so long for responders to reach the mass murderer in that event.

One of the first mass murderers using a tall building for advantage was Charles Whitman on August 1, 1966. The numbers are similar to what happened in Prague. Whitman killed his wife and mother, then killed 14 more from the University of Texas Tower in Austin, TX, while wounding at least 31.  Multiple citizens fired back at Whitman, and an armed citizen accompanied the police to climb the stairs to confront Whitman and stop the killing. Whitman was found to have a brain tumor and was presumed to be insane.

Whitman did not become an icon in the media. Troubled people did not appear to see his mass murder as a way to achieve fame during a public suicide. The copycat effect did not occur until decades later, with vast changes in the American and global media, the Internet, and a significant degradation in public morals.

Rumors are circulating that the mass murderer in Prague murdered his father to obtain the firearm used for most of the killing. In the mass murder at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, the killer murdered his mother to obtain the weapons used at the school. There is media confirmation the killer’s father was found murdered at home.

It is too early to be certain precisely what firearms were used in the mass murder in Prague. It appears a ZEV 30 was the primary weapon. It has been written the rifle was thrown off the balcony before the killer committed suicide with a shotgun.

Reported Charles University Prague mass killer rifle, source RedditReported Charles University Prague mass killer rifle, source Reddit
Reported Charles University Prague mass killer rifle, source Reddit

A picture of a rifle with a broken stock, broken pistol grip, and broken magazine is suspected of being the scoped rifle used in the mass murder.  The picture was posted at reddit.com. It appears to have Czeck words associated with the source. The rifle appears on cobblestones as if it was dropped from a considerable height. The provenance of the image is uncertain.

There is speculation the rifle was a ZEV 30 in 7.62 NATO.  It is unknown if the killer had a license for the rifle or killed his father, who owned the rifle, in order to obtain it from his father’s safe.

The Czech police are expected to do a professional job of investigating these murders. It will take a while to accomplish. The Czech Republic has very strict laws about possessing and carrying firearms, although they are some less restrictive in Europe.

Mass public murders occur all over the world. On a per capita basis, the United States is in the middle of the pack, according to crime with firearms expert John Lott.

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About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean WeingartenDean Weingarten


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