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Czech Republic: Crossbow shooter regrets shooting out of fear, Roma collecting funds for victim's funeral

Chotěbuz (Karviná district), 10.5.2012 20:46, (ROMEA)

Mediafax reports that members of the Romani community have spontaneously organized a collection for the funeral of the man who was shot to death with a crossbow recently in the town of Chotěbuz (Karviná district). The family had originally delayed his burial for financial reasons.

Jaromír Šebesta, who shot the man, has spoken out for the first time in an interview with TV Nova. He said he regrets his actions and that he shot because he was afraid of the four Romani men at the scene.

The burial of the 39-year-old Romani man shot by Šebesta had evidently been postponed by his family for lack of finances. However, local Romani people have spontaneously taken up a collection to contribute toward the cost of the funeral.

"During the first day alone they collected CZK 2 000, a large part of which was contributed by a Romani entrepreneur. However, there is still not enough money, because the cost of keeping the deceased refrigerated rises with each day that goes by," said Kumar Vishwanathan, chair of the Life Together (Vzájemné soužití) association. The service was originally to have been held yesterday, but the family had not yet put enough money together.

According to the tabloid daily Blesk, "it is a fact that the tragedy occurred on the public road near the home of the shooter, who has been charged. Police dog handlers found no evidence that the victim had entered the building."

The man injured by the arrow underwent surgery after being hospitalized and remained in a critical state afterward. He died as a result of his injuries after several days in hospital. According to the available information, the father of the deceased is seriously ill and his mother has had a breakdown. His common-law wife is now taking care of their two children, aged six and eight, on her own. The shooter faces up to 16 years in prison for grievous bodily harm resulting in a fatality.

Jaromír Šebesta, who shot the crossbow, said in an interview with TV Nova that he regrets his actions. "It was this kind of situation - when you see four guys getting out of a car here, you're frightened. So I did my best to get those guys off the property. I was so agitated, frazzled, that in the end when I was chasing them off I ran towards them a little bit, about 10 meters behind them, and out of nervousness I shot at their car. Not at any of them. It was an unfortunate accident that the one guy got it in the head. It was as if he just leaned into it," Šebesta said.

Later in the interview, Šebesta said the following: "You bet I regret shooting someone in the head when I didn't mean to. I fired simply out of agitation, immediately after I ran around the corner. I was just aiming at the door when he opened the car door and I immediately fired... I feel innocent. They didn't have any business being here, and I was afraid of them after they were sneaking around in my cellar and around the building. Your nerves start working and you don't really even know what you're doing. I first called to them to get off the property, they didn't obey, so then I aimed at them and called to them once more... Those Romani guys always tell nothing but lies. They made it up that I swore at them - nothing of the sort happened. They have probably all agreed somehow what to say against me, that's what it looks like."

Šebesta's version contradicts the previous testimony of this sister, Monika Šebestová, who said the following to TV Nova: "They were in the cellar and there were three - three guys. They were making noise, and he didn't know whether they were trying to dig a hole in the wall so they could burrow through to the inside of his home. He left the house with the crossbow, holding it pointing at the ground. He didn't threaten them at all, he just went out and shouted down to ask what they were doing and they didn't respond. Then he armed the crossbow, aimed it a bit in their direction, and told them to leave. He definitely did not aim at anyone's head. The one who got shot made an unexpected movement and it ended up in his head."

News server Romea.cz has reported that four men were at the scene of the crime: Gabriel Gujda, his two sons, and his cousin Martin, who later died as a result of his injuries. "We went to the old demolition site, where a derelict building has been standing for many years. It was demolished down to its foundations. The boys wanted to take a look to see if they could find some old scrap or sheet metal there. That guy evidently saw me turning the car around near his building. He came out holding a crossbow. He shouted 'You black whores, I'll kill you'. The boys didn't even make it to the demolition site, they ran back to the car shouting: 'Dad, Dad he has a weapon'. My oldest boy jumped into the car on my side, the other guy from the other side and Martin tried to get in the back seat. I, in the meantime, got out of the car because I wanted to see what was happening. I saw him intentionally aim at Martin's head and then hit him with the arrow. He was about seven meters away from us," Gujda told news server Romea.cz previously.

The following is a translation of a word-for-word transcript of the interview with Šebesta as edited by TV Nova:

"It was this kind of situation - when you see four guys getting out of a car here, you're frightened. So I did my best to get those guys off the property. I was so agitated, frazzled, that in the end when I was chasing them off I ran towards them a little bit, about 10 meters behind them, and out of nervousness I shot at their car. Not at any of them. It was an unfortunate accident that the one guy got it in the head. It was as if he just leaned into it.

You bet I regret shooting someone in the head when I didn't mean to. I fired simply out of agitation, immediately after I ran around the corner. I was just aiming at the door when he opened the car door and I immediately fired. That guy must have moved then and got it in the head, because I was aiming low. It was at the level of their feet, maybe their waists. I feel innocent. They didn't have any business being here, and I was afraid of them after they were sneaking around in my cellar and around the building. Your nerves start working and you don't really even know what you're doing. I first called to them to get off the property, they didn't obey, so then I aimed at them and called to them once more.

When I shot the crossbow, I immediately fled, because I didn't know whether they might run after me. I fled inside and waited to see what would happen. Then someone yelled at me: 'You shot him'. So I walked cautiously back and went up to the car and there I saw a person on the ground with an arrow in his head. Then I told that one Gypsy, the fat one, the Rom, that I would go get another arrow to measure how deep it went in. I went to go get the arrow, but in the meantime he had flagged down a car and the driver called the ambulance and police.

I got the crossbow for target shooting. I just had it hanging up on a hook, I never used it. The bow wasn't even strung yet. The targets had only arrived a week before.

I had first thought they were boys who had come to exercise [in Šebesta's gym - Editors]. All I saw was a car parking, no one gets out, then it leaves to park in the back. That was suspicious to me somehow. Then I see four Romani guys get out of the car. I just followed them. Then I saw them heading toward the scrap metal, there where the car has been taken apart, they went there, then they returned beneath my windows and starting sneaking around my building.

I am waiting for a reconstruction which they say will take place, right? So I am waiting for that, if they invite me to it. There will be another investigation, more interrogations... I don't know. I don't know what will happen next, now I am afraid of the investigation. Those Romani guys always tell nothing but lies. They made it up that I swore at them - nothing of the sort happened. They have probably all agreed somehow what to say against me, that's what it looks like. I feel innocent."

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 958x

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