2020 Zagreb shooting
Part of right-wing terrorism in Europe
St. Mark
Banski dvori, site of attack
LocationSt. Mark's Square, Zagreb, Croatia
Coordinates45°49′00″N 15°58′24″E / 45.816554°N 15.973336°E / 45.816554; 15.973336Coordinates: 45°49′00″N 15°58′24″E / 45.816554°N 15.973336°E / 45.816554; 15.973336
Date12 October 2020 (2020-10-12)
c. 08:03 (CEST)
TargetBanski dvori
Attack type
Weapons
Deaths1 (the perpetrator)
Injured1 police officer
PerpetratorDanijel Bezuk
MotiveRight-wing extremism

The 2020 Zagreb shooting, commonly referred to as the St. Mark's Square attack (Croatian: Napad na Trgu svetog Marka), occurred on 12 October 2020 in Zagreb, Croatia, when 22-year-old Danijel Bezuk approached Banski dvori, which houses the office of the Prime Minister and serves as the meeting place of the government, on St. Mark's Square and started shooting at it with an assault rifle, wounding a police officer in the process. In the aftermath, the perpetrator ran off to a nearby neighborhood and committed suicide.[2]

Attack

External video
video icon Video of the attack to the Croatian government building at the St. Mark's Square on YouTube (1:50)

The attack was committed by 22-year-old Danijel Bezuk from Kutina, Croatia, who did not appear at his workplace in Zagreb, but instead headed to St. Mark's Square where the buildings of the Croatian government (Banski dvori), Croatian Parliament (Sabor) and the Constitutional Court are located. He subsequently took out an automatic rifle (5.45×39mm AK-74[3]) and opened fire on the 33-year-old police officer, Oskar Fiuri, who was guarding the main entrance, wounding him with four rounds, after which he continued shooting on Banski dvori.[4]

Another police officer who was guarding the Parliament on the opposite side of the square noticed what was happening, so he took out his personal weapon and fired at the attacker. Bezuk ran to the nearby street to take cover and reloaded his gun. He then returned and fired on the police again, but was again suppressed by the police fire, and fled the scene in response.[4]

The wounded officer Fiuri ran approximately 50 metres (160 ft) and collapsed in a state of shock. He was helped by the bystanders, who called an ambulance. The wounded policeman was taken to Sisters of Charity Hospital in Zagreb, where he was treated for his wounds. Police then swarmed St. Mark Square looking for the attacker, but soon received the report of shots heard in the nearby Jabukovac Street, which turned out to be Bezuk taking his own life.[5][6]

Motives

Soon after the attack, the Croatian media found out the attacker's identity and started analyzing Bezuk's Facebook account, which featured written statuses, expressing his frustrations with the state of affairs in Croatia. The posts included a link to a YouTube video dedicated to snipers, captioned with: "I wish I was one of these guys, to take out Serbs". In another post, he described himself as "a tourist in his own country". In yet another post, he expressed his support for far-right Croatian Party of Rights' (HSP) early 1990s paramilitary wing Croatian Defence Forces (HOS). In his last Facebook status before committing suicide, he wrote: "Enough of frauds and ruthless trampling of human values without [any] responsibility".[5]

In February 2021, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković stated that the motive of the attack was his party Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)'s coalition with the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS).[7][8]

Reactions

After the Croatian media started writing about Bezuk's Facebook profile, his profile received support from many other users. However, it was later deleted.[9]

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, President Zoran Milanović held a press conference in which he called the government to protect the central state institutions, saying that "they are not a tourist destination".[10] On the same day, police raided Bezuk's family home, where they apparently found two rifles with optical sights, silencers, and over 1,000 pieces of ammunition.[11][12] On 14 October, Prime Minister Plenković said that "[Croatia is] having a serious issue with radicalism" and that the attack had elements of a terrorist act, based on the Croatian law on terrorism.[13] He also urged the police, State's Attorney Office of the Republic of Croatia and Security and Intelligence Agency to investigate "how a young man could become so radicalized". He also appealed to society to "raise the level of respect, in order to build a public culture which will prevent similar incidents from happening".[13] On 15 October 2020, Minister of Croatian Veterans Tomo Medved, while commenting the attack, pointed out that there was a "series of clues indicating that the Prime Minister himself was the attacker's target".[14]

Investigation

On 16 October, Croatian daily newspapers Jutarnji list, referring to the source from the police, published the article saying that prior to the attack Bezuk searched the internet for texts and photographs of government office location, building interior and regular movements of the President and the Prime Minister.[15]

The investigation was concluded on 22 July 2021. The State's Attorney Office rejected the criminal complaint against Bezuk since he was deceased, and reported that the investigation found no evidence that there were any accomplices or instigators to the attack.[16]

Closure of St. Mark's Square

Following the attack, the police fenced off St. Mark's Square, announcing an "emergency security plan"[17] for the square. As of 2022, the square remains closed. Several politicians have called on the Croatian government and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to reopen the square, as it is the centre of Zagreb's historic Gornji Grad, and its closure inconveniences tourists, workers and Gornji Grad residents.[18][17]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Police published video footage of a Mark Square Attack: there are elements of terrorism" (in Croatian). Večernji.hr. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Croatian police find weapons after shooting outside govt. HQ". Washington Post. Associated Press. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  3. ^ Dešković, Miljuš, Marin, Dušan. "St. Mark Square Attacker Used the Rare Rifle Kalashnikov Variant Called "The Bone Breaker"". Jutarnji list. HINA. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Take a look on St. Mark Square attack video footage". Index.hr. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b "ŠTO JE NAPADAČ S MARKOVOG TRGA OBJAVLJIVAO NA SVOM FEJSU? 'Da sam barem jedan od njih, da skidam Srbe'… pisao i o 'nepravdi u Haagu'". Net.hr (in Croatian). 12 October 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Jutarnji list - Kako je Bezuk s kalašnjikovom došao do Vlade? Dva ključna pitanja o napadu i dalje su misterij". www.jutarnji.hr (in Croatian). 14 October 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  7. ^ Jelušić, Andrej (22 February 2021). "PLENKOVIĆ OBJASNIO SVOJU REAKCIJU: 'Isti su kao i oni što nas nazivaju srbočetnicima. Pred našu vladu čovjek je pucao oružjem jer smo u koaliciji s SDSS-om'". Dnevno.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  8. ^ Hina (22 April 2021). "Premijer Andrej Plenković s ministrima položio vijenac kod Kamenog cvijeta u Jasenovcu". Dnevnik.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Napadaču s Markova trga profil na Facebooku više nije aktivan". www.24sata.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Milanović o pucnjavi na Markovu trgu: Pozivam Vladu da odgovarajuće zaštiti Trg". N1 HR (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Croatian police find weapons after shooting outside govt. HQ". ABC News. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Traje pretres imanja i kuće napadača s Markovog trga, oglasio se njegov ujak". www.index.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Plenković o napadu na Markovu trgu: 'Imamo ozbiljan problem s radikalizmom'". www.vecernji.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Medved: 'Čitav niz pokazatelja govori da je meta napada na Markovu trgu bio Plenković'". Večernji list (in Croatian). 15 October 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  15. ^ Dešković, Marin; Žabec, Krešimir; Miljuš, Dušan (16 October 2020). "Što je guglao Danijel Bezuk: Na webu tražio gdje živi i gdje se kreće Plenković, ali i Milanović". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  16. ^ "DORH utvrdio: Napad na Markovu trgu bio je terorizam" [DORH determined: The attack on St. Mark's Square was terrorism]. N1 (in Croatian). 22 July 2021. Archived from the original on 22 July 2021. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Plenkoviću i Božinoviću poslan apel da otvore Markov trg za građane i turiste" [Plenković and Božinović receive an appeal to open St. Mark's Square to citizens and tourists]. N1 (in Croatian). HINA. 15 June 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  18. ^ Vulić, Antonija (7 January 2022). "Stanarima ne daju do dućana, kose korov s kaldrme: 'To je ružno i nema veze sa sigurnošću'" [Residents not allowed across to reach the shops, weeds are growing among the cobblestones: 'This is unsightly and has nothing to do with security']. Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 27 January 2022.