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Bratislava massacre: Allegedly problematic woman said not to be Roma

Bratislava, 2.9.2010 14:49, (ROMEA)

News server SME.sk reports that the family of the late Ms Slezáková, murdered on Monday by Ľubomír Harman, also now deceased, was not 100 % Roma. The men in the family were Roma, but the women were not. The attacker’s motivation is not yet clear.

Ms Slezáková lived in a one-room apartment with three other relatives. According to a neighbor who lives on the same floor, they were decent people. “They always said hello,” neighbor Lýdie says. Neighbor Marta adds that “Their home was always clean.”

The neighbors say the family was given a bad name by Ms Slezáková’s daughter, Růžena Halászová, and her grand-daughter Michaela, who often came to visit. These women, whom neighbors say appeared to be homeless, were not Roma and are most likely to have been the subjects of a report by the Markíza television station five years ago.

Did the murderer hate Roma? No one knows exactly. He had no friends and did not communicate with anyone. A colleague who worked with him 10 years ago claims he “hated dark-skinned people”. He is said to have gone to work dressed in camouflage and wearing a concealed pistol. Neighbors say Harman behaved eccentrically even before the tragedy.

After the murderer threatened to shoot two of his neighbors if they didn’t get out of his way, he shot his next victim. In front of the building he first aimed at his neighbor Marta. “He told me to disappear,” says Marta, who at the time was talking with Ms Slezáková’s wounded son-in-law. As she entered the building, Harman shot at her several times. “My daughter says my guardian angel must have been thinking of me,” Marta now says of her miraculous survival.

Marta is unable to explain Harman’s behavior. "He must have short-circuited,” she says. Both neighbors say he was an eccentric. “He was always deep in thought, he never said hello to anyone,” Marta says.

Neighbors also say Růžena Halászová and her daughter Michaela were never let into the building when they came to visit, but drank coffee with their relatives on a bench in front of the entrance to the building and chatted. Ms Slezáková’s family was poor and on welfare. Vladimír Mráz, mayor of the Děvínská Nová Ves district, says the retired Ms Slezáková owned her apartment.

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, SME.sk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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