Slovak PM shooting suspect named as 71-year-old writer and poet

A man charged with attempted murder following the shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been named as 71-year-old Juraj Cintula.

The pensioner, from the town of Levice in western Slovakia, is said to be a writer and poet.

In one of his poems he describes how he grew up to be someone who strikes back, they say.

Eight years ago, however, he initiated the creation of a movement called Against Violence, and published a statement about it online.

Cintula previously worked as a security guard, during which time he was reportedly badly beaten by a man in a shop.

Meanwhile, one of his neighbours said he was "shocked" about the shooting of the prime minister.

'Fantastic man'

"We had no problems with them. He is a fantastic man. I can't explain it," the neighbour said.

"I knew him and his wife as well. They were great people - pensioners. His wife was a university teacher - they used to go for a walk - great family."

Asked whether it was clear that Cintula had a gun, the neighbour added: "He didn't tell me. Police should check old people [and carry out psychological tests]."

Cintula founded a literary club in Levice and is the author of several poetry collections, local media reported.

He has also written a novel called The Message Of Sacrifice and is said to be a member of the Society of Slovak Writers.

Mr Fico - who is fighting for his life in hospital after Wednesday's assassination attempt - was shot several times in the town of Handlova, around 85 miles northeast of the capital Bratislava, where he was meeting supporters.

Slovakia's interior minister, Matus Sutaj Estok, told reporters that Cintula was a "lone wolf".

The suspect "acted alone", Mr Estok said.

Speaking previously, he said the attempt on Mr Fico's life was "politically motivated".

On Wednesday, he said an initial investigation found the suspect had a "clear political motivation" for carrying out the shooting, adding the "perpetrator's decision was born closely after the presidential election".

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Mr Fico, won a fiercely contested presidential election last month.

The alleged gunman fired five bullets at the 59-year-old prime minister as he greeted supporters following a government meeting in a former coal mining town in central Slovakia.

What have those who knew the suspect said?

News outlet cited the suspect's son as saying his father was the legal holder of a gun licence.

"I have absolutely no idea what my father intended, what he planned, what happened," it quoted the son as saying.

He said all he could say about his father's views about the prime minister was that he did not vote for him.

He also said his father was not a psychiatric patient.

Read more:
Who is Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico?

A member of the Rainbow Literary Club in Levice told Reuters she knew the suspect.

She said he was one of the club's founding members and had been its chairman for a time.

In a statement, the club condemned the attack and said that as a strictly apolitical group it had revoked the suspected attacker's membership with "immediate effect".