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Dhaka Tribune

Slovak police search home of PM shooting suspect

  • PM Robert Fico was seriously wounded in a public shooting in Handlova
  • The attack has increased fears of political violence ahead of European elections
Update : 17 May 2024, 08:45 PM

Slovak police on Friday searched the home of the man charged with shooting and seriously wounding Prime Minister Robert Fico, local media reported. 

Officers brought along the alleged gunman, who was wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet, to the apartment he shared with his wife in the western town of Levice, Markiza TV footage showed.

“Police stayed in the apartment for several hours... They took the computer and documents out of the apartment,” the private broadcaster said. 

Police, who told AFP they would not comment on an ongoing investigation, have not named the suspect but media have identified him as 71-year-old writer Juraj Cintula.

He was charged on Thursday with attempted murder with premeditation in what the authorities have called a politically motivated attack.

Fico was hospitalized Wednesday after the attack, which happened as the 59-year-old leader was speaking to members of the public after a meeting in the central town of Handlova.

A witness, train conductor Richard Krajcik, told AFP that Fico stretched out his hand to greet the crowd gathered behind a security barrier when the gunman fired a quick succession of shots.

Security guards quickly bundled Fico into a nearby car, before he was airlifted to a hospital for an five-hour emergency surgery to save his life. 

President-elect Peter Pellegrini said Thursday that Fico remained in a serious condition at the hospital in the central city of Banska Bystrica.

“He is able to speak but only a few sentences and then he is really, really tired... The situation is very critical,” Pellegrini told reporters. 

He added that a medical council would meet on Monday to discuss further steps. 

They will “decide whether he will be treated further, if everything is fine, in Banska Bystrica, or whether he will be considered for transportation closer to his place of residence” in Bratislava, Pellegrini said. 

He added that Fico had remained conscious after the shooting.

“He remembers the shooting, he was surprised that it could happen and how fast it happened,” Pellegrini told the TA3 news channel on Thursday.

The shooting has prompted fears of further violence in the politically polarised nation just weeks before European parliament elections.

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