Slovakian Charged in Shooting ‘Was Against Everything’

Slovakian Charged in Shooting ‘Was Against Everything’

He wrote darkish, erotic verse and poems that includes torture and ache. He additionally self-published a e book that railed in opposition to Roma individuals and requested why Slovakia had not produced a homegrown model of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist.

“Where is the Slovak Breivik? Has he not been born but? And what if he has been?” he requested within the e book. “I didn’t shoot anybody. I instructed myself — I’ll write a e book.”

Then on Wednesday, the 71-year-old former coal mine employee, onetime stone mason and lifelong malcontent was charged with opening fireplace at point-blank vary on Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia.

As quickly as information broke that an unidentified man had shot Mr. Fico in central Slovakia, it was apparent to Milan Maruniak, a retired coal miner, who should be accountable.

“I used to be 99 p.c certain it was him. It couldn’t be anyone else,” stated Mr. Maruniak, a longtime colleague of the person who has been charged with “tried premeditated homicide” however nonetheless has not been named by the authorities.

Wednesday’s taking pictures, the worst assault on a European chief in many years, despatched shock waves throughout Europe.

But the truth that the person who had lived on this provincial city was arrested got here as no actual shock to some who knew him. “He was at all times so bizarre and offended,” Mr. Maruniak stated. “It was solely a matter of time earlier than one thing occurred.”

Slovakia’s prosecutor has positioned an embargo on data referring to the case, and banned the police from disclosing the identify of the person who has been charged. But the prosecutor’s workplace stated “it will not be fallacious” to establish the person as Juraj C., the identify broadly reported by the Slovakian information media. It will not be clear if the suspect has a lawyer.

Officials say the shooter was a “lone wolf,” an unhinged particular person performing just for himself — an account of the crime that matches the profile sketched by individuals who knew Juraj C.

On Friday, nevertheless, cops visited the condo block the place he lived and took video footage from safety cameras. Ondrej Szabo, the supervisor for the complicated, stated that investigators wished to see if anyone had visited the person’s condo within the days main as much as the assault. Mr. Szabo stated the person by no means struck him as harmful and infrequently went for walks hand in hand together with his spouse. The couple have two kids.

Video footage and images of the shooter launched quickly after the assault confirmed a bearded man whom Mr. Maruniak and different residents of the city, Levice, stated they acknowledged as Juraj C., an area identified for his cranky habits and resentful angle.

“I used to be not shocked it was him,” stated Maria Cibulova, a member of Rainbow, an space literary membership, to which Juraj C. additionally belonged.

She didn’t like his poetry a lot. “I’m a romantic and at all times searching for good issues,” she stated, “however he was at all times writing about ugly, unfavorable issues.” When Juraj C. shared his work at bimonthly membership conferences, she recalled, different members reacted with extra alarm than admiration. “It was at all times so unusual and unfavorable,” Ms. Cibulova stated of his work.

One poem, “The Hut,” featured the mountains of Slovakia recast as elements of the feminine anatomy, whereas “The Face” was dominated by descriptions of torture and ache. Both poems had been included in a self-published e book that was seen by The New York Times.

Politicians on either side of a deep political divide in Slovakia that’s break up between supporters and foes of Mr. Fico have introduced the shooter as a product of the opposing camp. But individuals who know him say he by no means sided clearly with both, however jumped on any trigger that allowed him to specific his anger.

Yet there may be one trigger, in response to individuals who know him, that he has caught with for many years: an abiding hostility towards Slovakia’s minority Roma inhabitants. Mr. Maruniak stated that had been an obsession of Juraj C.’s for the reason that Nineteen Seventies, after they labored collectively at a coal mine. “Gypsies and Roma,” a e book written and self-published by Juraj C. in 2015, included an overtly racist poem in regards to the minority: “On the physique of civilization there’s a tumor of criminality rising.”

On different issues, nevertheless, he repeatedly switched sides.

In 2016, for instance, Juraj C. provided public assist for Slovenski Branci, or Slovak Conscripts, a paramilitary group identified for supporting Russia. In a press release of assist, he stated he admired the group’s “capability to behave with out approval from the state.”

Two years later, nevertheless, he started a bitter feud with one other member of the literary membership who had posted a message on Facebook expressing unease about torchlight parades in Ukraine by radical nationalists. He denounced his fellow author, who had labored in Russia greater than twenty years earlier than, as a Russian agent paid by the Kremlin to tarnish Ukraine.

Juraj C.’s pro-Ukrainian views grew to become steadily stronger as he turned in opposition to Russia, his earlier beacon, notably after the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion in 2022. “He abruptly grew to become extraordinarily anti-Russian,” stated the membership member, who requested that his identify not be revealed as a result of his household feared retribution.

In 2019, Juraj C. stopped attending conferences of the literary membership and appeared unusually indifferent when he bumped into individuals he had identified for years on the road.

“He was off in his personal world and actuality,” Mr. Maruniak recalled.

A path of often-contradictory statements and affiliations over time has given Slovakia’s politicians a wealth of fabric with which to spin the accused man’s views. The indisputable fact that the literary membership in Levice is known as Rainbow has fueled claims that he’s an L.G.B.T.Q. activist, a job that might clarify his hostility to Mr. Fico, a champion of conventional household values.

But Ms. Cibulova, who was president of the literary membership for a number of years, stated the membership had no affiliation with L.G.B.T.Q. causes.

The first particular person to establish a suspect was Danny Kollar, a Slovak who lives in London, from the place he runs one among Slovakia’s most generally adopted and vituperative social media retailers.

Mr. Kollar, who traffics in conspiracy theories, instantly linked the taking pictures to Progressive Slovakia, an opposition party, claiming that the shooter was a party supporter. The party’s chief dismissed that as a lie.

Ms. Cibulova stated it was forbidden to debate politics or faith at conferences of the literary membership, so she had no clear thought of the person’s politics, apart from that “he was in opposition to all the pieces.”

“He had one thing inside him in opposition to the injustice that he felt had been accomplished to him in life,” she stated.

In a short private biography Juraj C. submitted to the writers’ group, he stated he had been “recognized as a insurgent by state energy” within the Communist period, and had been fired from his job as a technical employee at a coal mine in close by Handlova, the city the place Mr. Fico was shot on Wednesday.

According to his personal account within the literary membership’s journal, in 1989 he grew to become the chief of Levice’s protest council, a department of a nationwide anti-Communist group led by Vaclav Havel, who later grew to become the Czech president.

But that, Mr. Maruniak stated, will not be true. He stated Jurjaj C. was stored at arm’s size by activists within the anti-Communist motion, who noticed him as too radical and unreliable.

“Nobody actually favored him,” Mr. Maruniak stated. “He was by no means a part of the group. He was by no means content material with something. He might by no means actually be a part of any group.”

In his 2015 e book, Juraj C. gave what now reads like an account of his personal private evolution. It got here in a piece a couple of infamous Slovak assassin, Jan Harman, who killed eight individuals in a taking pictures spree in 2010.

“They declared him insane, however he wasn’t insane, he simply couldn’t carry the burden anymore,” Juraj C. wrote. “He doesn’t need to curse anymore, he doesn’t need to hate anymore. He’s worn his personal all the way down to that unknown edge.”

Sara Cincurova and Marek Janiga contributed reporting from Bratislava, Slovakia.


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