Czech Republic: Investigation says pensioner shot Romani men in self-defense
Murder or any other sort of homicide with intent have been ruled out in the case of the tragic shooting in Tanvald (Jablonec district) in which a 22-year-old Romani man died and another was seriously injured on New Year's Day. Lenka Bradáčová, Deputy State Regional Prosecutor, announced the findings to the Czech Press Agency today. She said the 63-year-old shooter defended himself after being attacked with a knife as the result of a conflict with the men.
The state prosecutor's office has ruled out the idea that the Romani men wanted to rob the pensioner. It is now necessary to determine whether his self-defense was proportionate. "The shots which killed one person and injured another were preceded by a very intensive physical assault on the man, who then used his gun against his assailants in self-defense," Bradáčová said.
According to the state prosecutor's office, both financial and racial motivations have been ruled out in the case. The investigation is still ongoing. Bradáčová has also refuted the rumors that the Romani men wanted to rob the pensioner or had stolen something from his garage.
It is still unclear why the Romani men attacked. "The motivation for the dispute was very petty, it was a banal conflict," the prosecutor told news server iDNES.cz. The prosecutor did not say who provoked the conflict. Police will continue to investigate the actions of the surviving youth.
"The attack was not about money or property, but naturally there was a motivation. Everything will be evaluated that fits the behavior, i.e., the role played by the victim," Bradáčová told news server iDNES.cz.
"The rest of the investigation will determine whether the man defending himself responded with proportionate force. We will determine whether the shooting was a clearly disproportionate response to the knife attack or whether it meets the definition of necessary self-defense and therefore is not a felonz," Bradáčová said in a press release. "If the criminal justice authorities come to the conclusion that the response crossed the line, criminal prosecution of the shooter will be initiated."
The gunshot victim was buried by his family in Tanvald last weekend. The funeral was followed by a procession to the scene of the shooting and is estimated to have been attended by 200 people. The surviving brother of the victim was released from hospital prior to the funeral.
Some members of the Romani community have recently criticized the course of the investigation and have labeled the shooting in Tanvald an execution. The state prosecutor's office rejects those criticisms and says their investigation is objective.
"The criminal justice authorities fully respect people's right to free speech, but would like to remind everyone that the authorities cannot succumb to any pressure from interest groups, the media or the public while carrying out their work. The state prosecutor is obliged, when performing his activities, to proceed conscientiously, fairly, impartially, professionally, and without unnecessary delay. Any external intervention or other influence which might result in violating any of those obligations must be rejected," Bradáčová's press release concludes.
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