Suspect shoots 6 dead in Czech hospital, then kills himself

Six people were killed and three wounded in a shooting in a hospital in the eastern Czech Republic on Tuesday, the prime minister and officials said. The apparent gunman killed himself, police said.

Police identify suspected shooter as man, 42, who used an illegal gun

Officials say at least six people were killed in a shooting in a hospital in the eastern Czech Republic. (Jaroslav Ozana/CTK via AP)

A man with an illegal gun fatally shot six people and wounded three others at a hospital in the eastern Czech Republic on Tuesday, the prime minister and officials said.

The gunman later killed himself as police approached his car.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Czech public television the shooting took place around 7 a.m. local time in a waiting room. The attacker opened fire at people's heads from close range, Babis said.

The prime minister cancelled an official visit to Estonia and headed to the scene of the shooting at the University hospital in the eastern city of Ostrava, 350 kilometres east of Prague.

"It's a huge tragedy," Babis later said. "It's an unfortunate, individual act."

He said the suspect had been treated in the hospital, but didn't offer details.

"Nobody understands why the attacker was so ruthless," Babis said.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said police found the suspect's car and he shot himself in the head as they approached. He died about half an hour later. Hamacek said police will investigate to determine the motive.

"I'd like to assure the public that there's no danger anymore," Hamacek said.

4 men, 2 women dead

Police identified the attacker as a 42-year-old man. Several hundred police officers had launched an extensive manhunt, using two helicopters.

Regional police chief officer Tomas Kuzel said the suspect used an illegally held, Czech-made, 9-mm gun. He said police believe the gunman, who had a criminal record, acted alone.

Police published a photo of the suspect, having withdrawn an earlier photo of a different man. They said that man was now considered a witness.

Clinic director Jiri Havrlant told media four men and two women were killed. Another man and a woman underwent surgery. One person received minor wounds.

All the victims were adult patients waiting for treatment.

The nation will honour them with sirens wailing all across the country on Dec. 17, Babis said.

The incident marks the second-largest number of Czechs ever killed in a mass shooting after a man opened fire during lunchtime in the southeastern town of Uhersky Brod, killing eight before he fatally shot himself in 2015.