Slovakia shooting: Two dead after gunman opens fire outside LGBTQ+ bar in suspected hate attack

Police cordoned off Zamocka street following a shooting at an LGBTQ+ bar in Slovakia's capital Bratislava

Slovakia’s prime minister has condemned a shooting outside an LGBTQ+ venue that killed two people in what advocates believe is a hate crime.

Two men were fatally shot and a woman was wounded on Wednesday (12 October) evening in front of Tepláreň, a popular LGBTQ+ spot in Slovakia’s capital of Bratislava

Comenius University in Bratislava said on Twitter that one of the two victims in the shooting was a student named Matúš Horváth. The university believes the attack “could have been a hate crime against the LGBTQI+ community” based on “current information”. 

The third victim in the attack is believed to have worked at the bar and is recovering in hospital. 

The suspected gunman was found dead on Thursday (13 October) morning, Slovak police said. Authorities have not provided details about the motive of the shooting but have not ruled out it being a hate crime.

According to Slovak media, the suspect posted had written social media posts indicating he had anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ+ views as well as posts about the shooting, the Associated Press reported. The account was blocked Thursday. 

Slovak leaders condemns attack

Prime minister Eduard Heger condemned the attack and said it was “unacceptable” that anyone should live in fear.

“It is unacceptable that anyone should fear for their life because of the way they live,” Heger said. “I strongly condemn yesterday’s attack in which two people died. No form of extremism is allowed.”

Zuzana Čaputová, president of the Slovak Republic, called on politicians to help stop hatred against the LGBTQ+ community in a post on Twitter

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims of yesterday’s horrific attack in Bratislava and everyone in the LGBTIQ+ community affected by it,” Čaputová said.

“Words can become weapons. Hate kills. As politicians, we must weigh every word we say before it’s too late.”

A coalition of Slovak LGBTQ+ groups – including Duhovy PRIDE Bratislava, Iniciatíva Inakosť, Nomantinels divadlo and Dúhové rodiny – have strongly condemned the “unprecedented” attack in a statement released on Facebook. 

The groups believed the fatal attack was motivated by “hatred” towards the LGBTQ+ community. They described the two victims killed in the attack as “young”, queer people that were targetted by the gunman because of their sexual orientation. 

The LGBTQ+ groups called on people in Slovakia to condemned the violent attack and to ensure it will never happen again by treating queer people equally in society. 

Tepláreň, the venue outside which the attack took place, said its “pain is unbearable” in the wake of the attack.

march to honour the victims of the fatal attack and to condemn hatred against the LGBTQ+ community has been scheduled for Friday (14 October) outside Tepláreň.