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

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A man has been charged with attempted murder over the shooting of Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Mr Fico – who is fighting for his life in hospital after Wednesday’s assassination attempt – was shot several times in the town of Handlova, around 85 miles northeast of the capital Bratislava, where the politician was meeting supporters.

Here’s what we know so far about the man detained by police at the scene.

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Video shows moment Slovak PM was shot

Who is the suspected attacker?

The suspected assailant is a 71-year-old former security guard at a shopping centre, the author of three collections of poetry and a member of the Slovak Society of Writers, according to local media reports.

Slovakia‘s interior minister Matus Sutaj Estok confirmed to reporters on Thursday a ‘lone wolf’ who did not belong to political groups has been charged by police over the shooting.

Mr Estok said the suspect “acted alone” and had previously taken part in anti-government protests.

He had previously said the attempt on Mr Fico’s life was “politically motivated”.

On Wednesday he said an initial investigation found the suspect had “a clear political motivation” for carrying out the shooting, adding the “perpetrator’s decision was born closely after the presidential election”.

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Mr Fico, won a fiercely contested presidential election last month.

Slovakia's prime minister Robert Fico
Image:
Slovakia’s prime minister Robert Fico. Pic: Reuters

Pic: AP
Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Slovakia...s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
Image:
Mr Fico was taken to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia. Pic: AP


The gunman fired five bullets at the 59-year-old prime minister as he greeted supporters following a government meeting in a former coal mining town in central Slovakia.


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What have those who knew the suspect said?

News outlet Aktuality.sk cited the suspect’s son as saying his father was the legal holder of a gun licence.

“I have absolutely no idea what my father intended, what he planned, what happened,” it quoted the son as saying.

He said all he could say about his father’s views about the prime minister was he did not vote for him.

He also said his father was not a psychiatric patient.

Pic: AP
Police arrest a man after Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured following the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024.  Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)
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The suspect remains in police custody. Pic: AP

According to local media reports, the suspect lived in the town of Levice, located south of Handlova where the attack occurred, and east of the capital Bratislava.

Read more:
Who is Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico?

A member of the Rainbow Literary Club in Levice told Reuters she knew the suspect.

She said he was one of the club’s founding members and had been its chairman for a time.

In a statement, the club condemned the attack and said as a strictly apolitical group it had revoked the suspected attacker’s membership “with immediate effect”.

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