Mayor in Poland dies from stabbing at public event

Clay Curtis
January 14, 2019

The mayor suffered a serious wound to the heart and cuts to the diaphragm and abdominal organs, said Tomasz Stefaniak, the surgeon who treated him at Gdansk's university hospital.

Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, far right, speaks to an audience shortly before he was stabbed in Gdansk, Poland, on Sunday Jan. 13, 2019.

Deputy prosecutor general Krzysztof Sierak said the suspect would be charged with attempted murder and would undergo a psychological assessment due to "doubts about his sanity". Spokesperson Mariusz Ciarka explained the assailant gained access to the stage using a media badge and suggested he was mentally ill.

The shocking attack, previously unheard-of in the European city, has drawn immediate condemnation, even from the mayor's biggest political rivals. He called on for people to pray for the mayor.

Doctors spent seven hours operating on the politician before announcing he was alive but in a serious condition.

Radio Gdansk reported that Adamowicz was stabbed in the area of his heart, but did not cite its source, while Rzeczpospolita described his condition as "critical", citing unnamed sources.

Adamowicz, 53, has been mayor of Gdansk since 1998.

He said the situation should be clearer within some 20 hours.

"That's why Adamowicz dies", he said before being knocked down to the ground by security. A man ran to the stage and stabbed the official, claiming revenge for an injustice.

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The popular annual charity event for hospitals is traditionally cheerful and open, with celebrities, politicians and teenagers collecting money in the streets across Poland and also overseas.

Asked about a motive, Gdansk city press officer Dariusz Wołodźko said the suspect came onstage shouting, and blamed the mayor and his party for his conviction and imprisonment.

Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski said the attack was "an act of inexplicable barbarism".

Mazurek said politicians in Poland need "greater responsibility for words, for deeds" because "there is no shortage of madmen on both sides" of the political spectrum. Some said they were given time off work to help save Mr Adamowicz.

European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who co-founded Civil Platform and is from Gdansk, tweeted: "Let's all pray for Mayor Adamowicz".

Gdansk is holding a blood collection for Adamowicz on Monday.

Anti-violence rallies were being planned nationwide after Sunday's shock attack on Pawel Adamowicz.

Polish media reported that a number of political officials and Gdansk Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glod went to the hospital during the operation.

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