Tags: slovakia shooting rampage

Slovakians Search For Answers After Rampage

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 07:42 AM EDT

BRATISLAVA — Shocked residents of a Bratislava suburb were searching for answers Tuesday after a local man killed seven people and wounded 13 others in an unexplained gun rampage.

Police declined to speculate on why the 48-year-old man from Devinska Nova Ves, on the outskirts of the Slovak capital, opened fire on an apartment occupied by a Roma family and then began to shoot indiscriminately into neighbouring homes before killing himself.

Media reports said the man was a former soldier and police said that he had a licence for the assault rifle used in the killings and other guns found in his possession.

One local resident suggested he had mental problems. Others said the killing may have been racially motivated.

He shot dead four women and one man in the flat occupied by the Roma family and another man outside the home, before killing a 52-year-old woman with one of a series of random shots into nearby windows.

The murdered Roma family members lived in a prefabricated building which is home to mostly poor people. The family had a bad reputation and were "noisy," said a middle-aged man living opposite the building.

"I didn't know the gunman but people say he was nuts. He used to wear a fur coat in summer and boxer shorts in winter, singing on the street," the man who identified himself only as Jaro told AFP on Tuesday.

"I went to the balcony but then my neighbour, also standing on his balcony, was shot, so I went to help him. He was shot four times, I called an ambulance and gave him first aid."

Jolana Lazukova, a next-door neighbour of the Roma family, said she was thankful to be alive.

"I was standing in front of the building when it happened. I heard the shooting, saw a dead body lying on the pavement, but I didn't see the gunman. It was like war. I was very lucky," she told AFP.

"The only thing we want to know is why it happened," said a hooded man walking his dog on the cold and rainy morning, who refused to identify himself.

The fact that the family targeted by the killer was of Roma origin suggests a racial motive, and locals asked by AFP tended to support this theory.

Devinska Nova Ves, in the northwestern outskirts of Bratislava which is home to the Slovak factory of German car maker Volkswagen, has 17,000 inhabitants.

The housing estate where the shooting took place was built in the 1980s, and many of the houses look like they need a revamp.

On Tuesday morning, crime scene tape still marked the area of the killing and police officers were only allowing residents inside.

Newpapers splashed reports of the massacre on their front pages.

The SME daily, the country's biggest broadsheet, said the rampage was unprecedented in Slovakia.

"So far, Slovakia has known pictures of killers only from action movies or CNN news. Yesterday, something like that actually happened in Slovakia," it said.

In Devinska Nova Ves, opposite the house where the shooting started, about 20 candles were lit near a supermarket next to a handwritten message saying: "For all the victims but the murderer."

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

BRATISLAVA — Shocked residents of a Bratislava suburb were searching for answers Tuesday after a local man killed seven people and wounded 13 others in an unexplained gun rampage.
slovakia shooting rampage
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 07:42 AM
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