Ten people were killed and nine were seriously wounded in a shooting on Thursday at Charles University in central Prague, Czech emergency services said. The shooter, who was not immediately identified by officials, also died.

The governor of the Prague region, Bohuslav Svoboda, said the shooter, so far unidentified, fell from the roof of the university’s faculty of arts building after opening fire on Jan Palach Square, an area of manicured lawns adjacent to the Vltava River that cuts through the Czech capital.

The police said the shooter had been “eliminated,” suggesting he had died, but did not specify how. They also said that the Faculty of Arts building, located in Prague’s Old Town, had been evacuated. The square next to it has been sealed off. Videos posted on social media showed people running away.

Shootings are rare in the Central European country and alarm over Thursday’s incident prompted the prime minister, Petr Fiala, to cut short a trip to the city of Olomouc in the east of the Czech Republic and rush back to Prague.

In a message to residents posted on the social media platform X late Thursday the police urged people to leave the area and “not to leave home. The police intervention is still ongoing.”

The square where the shooting occurred is named after Jan Palach, a 20-year-old student who set himself on fire in 1969 to protest the invasion of what was then Czechoslovakia by troops from the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact. He died three days later, becoming a revered martyr to the anti-communist cause.

At the time of his death he was studying history at Charles University, founded in 1348 and one of the world’s oldest universities.

Barbora Petrova contributed reporting.

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