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Two Shot and Killed Outside Gay Bar in Suspected Hate Crime

Memorial for shooting victims outside Bratislava, Slovakia gay bar

Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said a "radicalized teenager" was behind the killings.

A gunman killed two people and injured another in front of the Teplaren bar in Bratislava, Slovakia, Wednesday night.

The country's prime minister said the suspect was a "radicalized teenager."

On Twitter, Prime Minister Eduard Heger wrote, "I strongly condemn a murder of two young people shot dead in Bratislava last night by a radicalized teenager."

He added, "No form of white supremacy, racism, and extremism against communities, [including] LGBTI, can be tolerated. We will fight [disinformation] channels spreading hate [and] protect minorities."

The suspect was found dead on Thursday. Police said he died by suicide, according to Reuters. Authorities explained that he had used a gun registered to a relative in the attack.

The victims have been identified by authorities as 23-year-old Matus H. and 26-year-old Juraj V.

Authorities have asked local communities to be patient as they investigate the motive behind the attack, including if it was a hate crime, Reuters reports.

The third victim, thought to be a bar staff member, is recovering in the hospital, according to the BBC.

Local media outlet Dennik N wrote that the attacker had published a screed against queer and Jewish people. Slovak media also reported that the suspect was identified as the son of a former political candidate for a far-right party.

A prosecutor said on Friday that the attack may be considered a terrorist attack.

"The suspicion is that the motive of this act was to destabilize society," Special Prosecutor Daniel Lipsic said at a briefing, Reuters reports. "These points lead us to the possible consideration that we could classify this criminal offense as an act of terrorism."

While visiting the scene of the killings on Thursday, Slovak President Zuzana Caputova voiced support of the country's LGBTQ+ community.

"I want to say to the LGBT community, it is not you who don't belong here... It is hate that does not belong in Slovakia," she said.

European LGBTQ+ rights group ILGA-Europe condemned the attack.

"We deplore the murder of two young people, and the injury of another, outside an LGBTI bar in Slovakia on [Wednesday], and express our deep sympathies to their families [and] the whole community in Slovakia," the organization wrote on Twitter. The group said the two victims were "cut down in the prime of their lives simply for being who they are."

ILGA-Europe further added, "This kind of violence and destruction of life is what the instrumentalizing of LGBTI people as scapegoats for society by those who wish to remain in power leads to. The legitimization of hatred by any leader for any group of people cannot, and will not, be tolerated."

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