They were at the scene of the shooting and are dealing with it now. CT reporters filmed with rescuers, police and survivors

CT reporters spoke with rescuers, police officers and survivors of the shooting at the university (source: ČT24)

They were at the scene of the tragic shooting at the philosophy faculty, and now they're dealing with it. They like to talk about what they have experienced and share their feelings. They too have been affected by the hate spread on social media. A special issue of Correspondents CT was dedicated to survivors and interventionists at Charles University's Faculty of Arts on December 21.

“I have been working in the operations center of the fire department for almost 29 years, but I have to say that December 21 was the day when I needed mental health the most, and I would say that it was the worst day I experienced in operations. Center,” says Pawel, shift chief of the operations center of the Prague fire brigade. The policy is said not to take work home, but the case is said to be “under the skin”.

“When I got to the control room and saw a lot of lines ringing, I dropped my things and went to pick them up. “The first few calls were from girls pleading for help from the school,” says Jana Postova, head of the operations center of the Prague rescue service. Teams were immediately dispatched to the scene and an emergency operation was reportedly launched.

“Emergency text messages also started to come out, when people who couldn't even speak wrote that their lives were in danger – at that moment, we all literally froze,” says Posek. “In the first phase, we had four paramedics there, and one paramedic had two to three patients. You had to prepare the infusion yourself. At that moment, I felt my hands shaking,” says paramedic Jiri Straszek.

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Dozens of psychologists and interventionists from police and firefighters were called to the scene, and they attended to the evacuated students in the first moments. People from the emergency services who went to the pedestal were emotional after the intervention. “Of course sharing and connecting is very important. Only we humans should experience that. (…) We also cried,” Postova says. According to psychologists, there is no universal guide for everyone on how to cope with such an event, but for example, sharing feelings helps.

“In terms of emotional effects, I notice that I'm very volatile. You also have those sudden anxieties. Nothing in particular has really happened and suddenly something has gone wrong and you don't know what. All of a sudden you're under threat,” explains David Wigner, an assistant professor on the faculty. He arrived at the faculty at the time of the shooting and later got stuck in the elevator.

Phones rang

“In the room with the most wounded and the most killed, mobile phones were ringing,” recalled police officer John Usak who intervened. “The man, even though he didn't want to, saw mom and dad calling … it was very difficult,” says Jakub Sauer, another police officer who intervened. The first police officer arrived at the scene of the shooting within minutes.

“It was difficult before the holidays, everyone handled it differently. I had to restart myself with alcohol. It was because it didn't work. To absorb it, to understand it, of course it comes back to you,” says Sauer. Paramedic Stracek recalls images of him flashing before his eyes after the intervention. “You find yourself exhausted, you can't sleep, you can't sleep, and you're actually going through PTSD,” he says.

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Stashek says he's also received unexpected support. Patients with more severe injuries were prioritized over the girl with injuries to both ankles. “When it was finally her turn to leave, she said to me, 'Not yet, take that girl over there, she looks like she needs more.' ,” he says.

MP Criminal complaint against

Hundreds of posts have their authors questioning the shooting, expressing disgust or endorsing the act and threatening to follow suit. Many of them have already been contacted by the police and some have been arrested. “I want them to sit here with us and pick up the phone like all of us, there's a young man crying, begging for help, asking for life,” Postova says.

Police are already working on cases where they are investigating or condoning shootings. “We have received hundreds of referrals. We assessed approximately 150 of them as actually relevant, and criminal proceedings were initiated in 85 cases. “What is interesting is that in eleven cases it has already been directed at a specific criminal,” says Ondej Moravcsik, spokesperson of the Police Presidium.

Charles University will also file criminal charges against SPD vice-chairman Jiri Kobsa. He called the killer a “product of inclusive education” on social networks. “We are already working on it, and (a criminal complaint, editor's note) will be filed,” Charles University Rector Milena Kralikova said.

On the day of the shooting, emergency services treated and transported twenty-five injured people to hospitals. Fourteen, mostly young, couldn't help it anymore.

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