Czech Republic shooting: Tributes paid to victims

Residents pay respect to victims of the shooting in Uhersky Brod. Picture: AP

Residents pay respect to victims of the shooting in Uhersky Brod. Picture: AP

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HUNDREDS of residents of a small town in south-eastern Czech Republic have gathered to honour the victims of the worst shooting attack in the country’s history.

Braving rain, they lit candles in front of the Druzhba, or Friendship, restaurant in Uhersky Brod a day after a gunman opened fire during lunchtime, killing eight and seriously wounding a woman before he fatally shot himself.

Following surgery, the 37-year-old woman, who was shot in the chest, was not in life-threatening condition, said Dana Lipovska, spokesman for the hospital in nearby Uherske Hradiste.

Police identified the gunman as a 63-year-old local man who had no criminal record and had a gun licence.

A motive has not yet been determined, but authorities have ruled out terrorism.

Interior minister Milan Chovanec suggested after the shooting that the number people in the country who legally own weapons might be too high.

But Jiri Hynek, head of the Defence and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic, said it is difficult to get a licence and any future gun holder has to undergo strict procedures, including a medical exam.

“If we have such strict conditions for getting a driving license, we would have no traffic jams in Prague because half of the drivers wouldn’t get a driving license,” Mr Hynek told Czech public television.

In the nation of 10 million, gun licence holders have about 761,000 legal guns, according to Interior Ministry figures.

The gunman had two legal weapons, authorities said.

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