Polish mayor Pawel Adamowicz from Gdansk died Monday in hospital after being attacked on stage during the nation’s biggest charity event.
The 53-year-old politician was seen falling to floor, holding stomach, in a TV footage. He was stabbed following delivering his speech.
Interior minister Joachim Brudzinski said the attack was an act of inexcusable barbarity.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk paid tribute to the mayor. He too is from Gdansk.
Tusk wrote, “Pawel Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdarisk, a man of Solidarity and freedome, a European, my good friend, has been murdered.”
The suspect was arrested. He is a Gdansk resident and just released from prison for bank robbery. He came onstage shouting and blamed Adamowicz for his conviction and imprisonment.
Adamowicz entered local politics in 1990 as local councilor. He had held the position of mayor for more than 20 years.
Moments before the attack he shared a photo on Instagram showing crowd holding white lights during “Lights to Heaven” fundraising event.
In the wake of the attack head of the charity, Jerzy Owsiak, resigned.
Briefing to the press he said, “To think that this act of violence took place in my hometown… I am shaken.”
On his Facebook account the mayor wrote, “In my heart, Gdarisk occupies the first place. I want a modern, fair, friendly and open Gdarisk. Gdarisk, where everyone lives well, works, develops and brings up children.”
Poland’s Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski said the act is inexplicable barbarity.