WARSAW, Poland (AP) – A convicted criminal with a knife rushed on to the stage during the finale of a charity event Sunday night and stabbed a Polish mayor in the heart and abdomen before shouting that he did it for political revenge, in an attack that left doctors fighting to save the politician’s life.
Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz [Pictures during the concert above, right] 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 reanimated Adamowicz on the spot and then transported him to Medical University of Gdansk, where he underwent five hours of surgery, said Dr. Tomasz Stefaniak, one of the doctors treating Adamowicz.
Almost seven hours after the assault, Stefaniak told reporters early Monday that “the patient is alive,” triggering applause, but added that the mayor remained “in a very serious condition.”
“The next hours will decide everything,” Stefaniak said, appealing for thoughts and prayers for the popular mayor.
Polish media reported that a number of political officials and Gdansk Archbishop Slawoj Leszek Glod went to the hospital during the operation.
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. He said his name was Stefan and that “I was jailed but innocent. … Civic Platform tortured me. That’s why Adamowicz just died.”
Police said the suspect was a 27-year-old with a criminal record and had carried out bank robberies. A police spokesman, Mariusz Ciarka, said the attacker appeared to have mental problems and gained access to the area with a media badge.
A spokeswoman for Poland’s ruling right-wing party has condemned a knife attack on an opposition city mayor as “barbaric” and has called for less aggression in politics.
Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz remains in very serious condition after suffering wounds to his heart and internal organs in the Sunday attack by an ex-convict who said it was a political revenge on a party Adamowicz formerly belonged to.
Beata Mazurek of the Law and Justice party said Monday that the attack on Adamowicz should be “absolutely condemned by all, regardless of what side of the political stage they are on, or whether they are politicians.”
She stressed such attack should never have taken place.
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.
The Polish city of Gdansk is holding a blood collection for its mayor, who remains in serious condition after being stabbed in the heart and the abdomen.
Doctors operated for five hours on Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, who was stabbed during a popular charity event Sunday by a convicted criminal who called it political revenge.
One of the surgeons, Dr. Tomasz Stefaniak, said Adamowicz suffered a “serious wound to the heart, a wound to the diaphragm and to the internal organs.” He said Adamowicz needed massive blood transfusions.
Gdansk is holding a blood collection for Adamowicz on Monday. A rally against violence is also planned.
Gdansk Archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz, who was at the hospital during the surgery, said he was praying for a “miracle.”