Slovak PM shooting suspect named as 71-year-old writer

By AFP   May 15, 2024 | 06:53 pm PT
Slovak PM shooting suspect named as 71-year-old writer
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at a press conference in Berlin, Germany in January 2024. Photo by Reuters
A suspect detained for shooting Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico is a 71-year-old writer from the center of the European nation, the interior minister said Wednesday, after media identified the man.

"I think I can confirm this, yes," Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok told reporters when asked about reports identifying the man detained at the scene of the shooting in the town of Handlova.

A gray haired suspect was seen being handcuffed on the ground just after Fico was shot several times after a government meeting in Handlova. Officials said late Wednesday that Fico, a populist prime minister, was fighting for his life.

Media reports said the suspect was a founder of the DUHA (Rainbow) Literary Club and was from the town of Levice.

The reports, which also named him, said he has written three poetry collections and is a member of the official Association of Slovak Writers.

The association confirmed on Facebook that the man had been a member since 2015, adding that if his identity as the suspected shooter was confirmed "the membership of this despicable person will be immediately canceled".

The suspect's son told Slovak news site that he had "absolutely no idea what father was thinking, what he was planning, why it happened."

He said his father was a legally registered gun owner.

When asked if he felt any hatred toward Fico, the son said: "I'll tell you this: he didn't vote for him. That's all I can say about it."

Vlasta Kollarova, head of a local library in the man's hometown told Dennik N daily: "He was rebellious when he was young, but not aggressive."

Several political statements by the man, who AFP has chosen not to name, could be found on social media.

"The world is full of violence and weapons. People seem to be going crazy," he said in a video eight years ago posted online.

In the video, he also spoke about concern over immigration and "hatred and extremism" and said European governments "have no alternative to this chaos".

He also said in the video that he had founded a "Movement Against Violence" in Levice.

The movement, which also has its Facebook page, defines itself as "an emerging political party whose goal is to prevent the spread of violence in society. To prevent war in Europe and the spread of hatred."

go to top