Two men under the age of 30 have died following a shooting outside of a gay bar in Slovakia.
On the night of Wednesday, October 12, witnesses say a young man wearing a jacket, jeans, and a dark cap waited outside of Tepláreň, which is one of the few queer spaces in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. He began firing a weapon shortly after 7pm.
Two people were fatally shot, one of whom was an employee at the bar. Another woman who works at Tepláreň was taken to hospital where she is recovering and being treated for injuries.
The gunman’s whereabouts were unknown for several hours after the attack. However, on Thursday morning, police shared that they had found the body of the alleged suspect who is reported to be Juraj K, a 19 year-old student from Bratislava and the son of a former far-right political party candidate.
Local media reported that he had shared hateful social media posts including anti-LGBTQ+ statements posted with the phrases “hate crime” and “gay bar” hashtagged on Twitter prior to the shooting outside the Slovakia gay bar.
While investigations are ongoing and information about his motive has not been released, the attack is being recognised as a hate crime. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Slovakia, but leaders and community members are calling for action against homophobia and discrimination following the attack.
“We’re shocked by the information about the shooting and casualties at Tepláreň, where we meet regularly,” the Dúhový Pride Bratislava NGO has stated.
President Zuzana Čaputová is calling for action against fighting discrimination toward the LGBTQ+ community saying, “My thoughts go out to the innocent victims of yesterday’s shooting in Bratislava, and to those who no longer feel safe afterwards.”
My thoughts are with the family & friends of the victims of yesterday’s horrific attack in Bratislava & everyone in the #LGBTIQ+ community affected by it.
Words can become weapons. Hate kills. As politicians, we must weigh every word we say before it’s too late.
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— Zuzana Čaputová (@ZuzanaCaputova) October 13, 2022
Prime Minister Eduard Heger has also condemned the attack, saying, “It is unacceptable that anyone should fear for their life because of the way they live,” and that any form of extremism is unacceptable.
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