Slovakian PM Injured in Assassination Attempt: Who is the 71-Year-Old Shooter?

Fico Survives Five Gunshots in Public Attack, Suspect Identified as Former Security Guard and Poet

Assassination Attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister

Assassination Attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister

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Assassination Attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister?

On Wednesday, the government deemed the shooting that injured Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico as an assassination attempt. While leaving a government meeting and greeting people in the town of Handlová, someone shot Fico five times.

Incident Details

After the violent incident, helicopter transferred the 59-year-old leader to a hospital near the city of Banská Bystrica for “acute intervention.” A video shared on social media showed Fico approaching a small group in a public square when a man emerged and fired a pistol at close range, resulting in five audible gunshots. Fico doubled over and fell onto a bench after the first shot, with subsequent shots hitting his abdomen and a joint. Security officers quickly escorted him to a black Audi and then airlifted him to Banská Bystrica, where he underwent surgery.

Immediate Response

At the scene, security officers wrestled a suspect to the ground. Preliminary evidence suggested political motivations. Reports indicated that Fico was conscious during his transport to the hospital. Security officers wrestled the suspect, who was wearing a pale blue shirt, to the ground and tied his hands behind his back. Deputy Prime Minister Tomaš Taraba announced that Fico’s surgery “went well” and expressed optimism about his recovery.

Location of the Attack

The shooting occurred in Handlová, approximately 190 km (118 miles) northeast of Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. They flew Fico to a hospital in Banská Bystrica, a city in central Slovakia, 62 km (39 miles) east of Handlová.

Suspect Background

According to local media and a report by the Associated Press, the gunman was a former security guard, a poet, and a member of the Slovak Society of Writers. His son confirmed that the suspect legally held a gun license but was unaware of his father’s intentions. The suspect is 71 years old.

About Robert Fico

Robert Fico, born in 1964 in what was then Czechoslovakia, recently won his third term as Slovakian prime minister. He has committed to ending Slovak military assistance for Ukraine and obstructing Ukraine’s NATO aspirations, reversing Slovakia’s previous support for Ukraine. Fico, known for his pro-Kremlin sentiments, has echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s narratives regarding Ukraine. He previously served as Slovakia’s prime minister from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2012 to 2018. He resigned in 2018 following the assassination of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, who was investigating corruption linked to Fico and his political party, Direction – Social Democracy (SMER). In his latest campaign, Fico promoted a “sovereign” foreign policy and opposed LGBTQ rights.


Slovakia’s defense and interior minister, Robert Kaliňák, attributed the attack to escalating hate speech and political division. Theresa Fallon, director of the Centre for Russia, Europe, Asia Studies, highlighted the political polarization in Slovakia following Fico’s election. She noted similar trends across Europe, with right-wing parties gaining strength.


World leaders quickly condemned the attack. U.S. President Joe Biden called it a “horrific act of violence” and expressed prayers for Fico’s swift recovery. Russian President Vladimir Putin described Fico as a “courageous and strong-minded man” and hoped for his survival. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the attack as undermining democracy. French President Emmanuel Macron and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also expressed their shock and prayers for Fico’s recovery. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized the need to prevent violence from becoming normalized in any country.

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