Prosecutors investigating a New Year’s Day shooting in the north Bohemian town of Tanvald, which left a Romany man dead and injured another, have ruled out murder or any other premeditated crime. The investigators on Friday said the 63-year-old shooter was facing an intense assault by two Romany men in a conflict that had no racial or material motives.
The highly-publicized incident occurred in the first hours of the New Year in a remote location near the north Bohemian town of Tanvald when a 63-year-old man shot a 22-year old Romany man dead and injured his 24-year old brother.
The authorities have not yet disclosed all the details about what exactly took place. But on Friday, prosecutors said the shooter will not be charged with murder. Lenka Bradáčová is a deputy of the regional state prosecutor.
“We have acquired evidence including testimonies, a reconstruction at the scene of the shooting as well as expertises. At the current stage of the investigation, we can rule out murder or any other intentional criminal act leading to the death of the victim.”
Investigators this week carried out a reconstruction of the incident which they say threw more light on what occurred: the 63-year-old man had been attacked by the two Romanies who were armed with a knife. The injured man, who remains in hospital, claimed they did not assault the shooter, and said the shots came out unexpectedly. But prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová says the evidence points to a different conclusion.
“We have also ruled out a racial motive as well as robbery. For the time being, we will not disclose any further details, but I can say that the motive was very insignificant; the incident was sparked by a petty squabble.”
The investigators will now determine whether the shooting was a case of adequate self-defence, which will take several months.
“It is a question of evaluating all the evidence that we have. It is always a complicated issue as you cannot really consider the assault and the defence to be equal. The law says that self-defence cannot be clearly disproportionate to the attack which is for legal experts to determine. I expect that within two or three months, we will have a conclusion after the experts evaluate all the evidence.”
The shooting incident further increased ethnic tensions in the poor north Bohemian region which last year saw a number of violent incidents between Romanies and ethnic Czechs. The 22-year-old man’s funeral on Saturday took place under tightened security measures and was attended by hundreds of people. Police have also increased their presence in the area to prevent further conflicts.