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Attacker Rushes Stage, Stabs Mayor in Heart

Pawel Adamowicz, mayor of Gdansk, Poland, has died
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 14, 2019 12:33 AM CST
Updated Jan 14, 2019 8:12 AM CST
Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, far right, speaks to an audience shortly before he was stabbed in Gdansk, Poland, on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019.   (AP Photo/Anna Rezulak/KFP)
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(Newser) – A convicted criminal with a knife rushed onstage during the finale of a charity event Sunday night and fatally stabbed a Polish mayor in the heart and abdomen before shouting that he did it for political revenge. Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz grabbed his belly and collapsed in front of the audience at the "Lights to Heaven" fundraiser organized by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, the country's most important charity. Doctors treated the mayor on the spot then transported him to the Medical University of Gdansk, where he underwent five hours of surgery. The BBC reports that on Monday, Poland's health minister announced Adamowicz had died, saying, "We couldn't win."

After the knife attack, the assailant shouted from the stage that he had been wrongly imprisoned under a previous national government led by Civic Platform, a party to which the mayor formerly belonged. Police said the suspect is a 27-year-old with a criminal record and who had carried out bank robberies, the AP reports. A police spokesman, Mariusz Ciarka, said the attacker, who appeared to have mental problems, gained access to the area with a media badge. Adamowicz, 53, had been mayor of Gdansk since 1998.

(Read more Poland stories.)

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