Two men were killed in a shooting outside a popular gay bar in the Slovakian capital Bratislava on Wednesday night, in an apparent hate attack by a suspected right-wing extremist.
Slovakian police have only said publicly that they are still working to determine whether the attacker, who officers found dead on Thursday morning, was driven by hateful motives.
But local media reports, citing police sources, said the gunman was a 19-year-old who had tweeted a link to a lengthy anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ screed, decorated with a neo-Nazi sunwheel symbol, in the hours before the shooting, along with posts reading “#hatecrime #gaybar #bratislava.”
The Twitter account in question was deactivated on Thursday, but an archived version of the account remained accessible. It contained a stream of racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, and listed white-supremacist terrorists such as Brenton Tarrant and Anders Behring Breivik, who carried out mass killings in New Zealand and Norway respectively, as his “heroes and role models.”
The account contained a number of posts suggesting intent to carry out a violent attack, including a picture of the gunman taken outside the gay bar taken in mid-August. Following the attack, the gunman posted on Twitter and 4chan for several hours, according to reports.
The shootings took place shortly after 7pm on Wednesday night outside Tepláreň, a popular LGBTQ bar in central Bratislava. One of the slain men worked at the bar, while a woman was also shot and wounded, according to reports.
The attack was met with shock and widespread condemnation.
“It is unacceptable that anyone should fear for their life because of the way they live,” Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger said in a statement on Thursday. “No form of extremism is allowed.”
President Zuzana Čaputová also condemned the attack, saying she had been warning that the spread of hate had serious consequences.
Local LGBTQ organisations have organised a memorial march beginning at the bar on Friday night to honour the victims and stand against homophobic hate.
“The deliberate murder of two young men on Thursday evening … shocked and deeply affected us,” read a post by LGBTQ group Iniciatíva Inakosť.
“With this memorial event, we want to honour the victims of this heinous act and condemn the violence against LGBTI people.”
Slovakian newspaper SME reported that police were investigating the suspicion that the murder weapon had belonged to the gunman’s father, who had previously run as a candidate for the right-wing, anti-immigrant Vlasť (Homeland) party.