One week after a horrific double murder, Bratislava's famous Dubliner Irish Pub is back to normal.
photo: Ján Svrček
Arnold had been celebrating his graduation from university in the Irish Pub on Sedlárska Street, a popular old-town hang out for Slovaks and ex-pats, when an argument at a nearby table erupted into gunfire. Two brothers involved in the argument were shot, one fatally. The gunman then fired a random bullet into the crowded bar that struck Arnold in the left temple, killing him.
The police last week took a Bratislava man, Mikuláš Polóny, 22, into custody on suspicion that he had committed the double murder. According to Interior Ministry Chief Investigator Jaroslav Ivor, Polóny went to the police on his own account to offer an alibi after he heard he was a suspect in the shooting.
Ivor said July 13 that the alibi had been disproved and that Polóny would be held in custody pending charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of arms, and two counts of murder. Ivor added that the probable motive for the murders was blackmail.
The Irish Pub reopened two days after the shooting and is conducting business as usual. When contacted by the The Slovak Spectator, the owners would not comment on the incident.
Witnesses to the killings described a horrific scene which started when a man walked into the Irish Pub just before 21:00 and sat down next to Ján and Marian Š., the owners of a Bratislava restaurant. An argument began and the newcomer pulled out a gun and began shooting, killing Ján Š and wounding Marian Š. in the shoulder.
Police detained Mikuláš Polóny, 22, in connection with the shootings.
Arnold had been working as a money market dealer at Hypovereinsbank in Bratislava. He was described by one friend as a "tall, strong guy, well-educated, a sportsman who played street hockey and a family man."
"Tomáš Arnold was absolutely innocent," said the friend, who preferred to remain anonymous. "He was an ordinary guy with lots of friends. He was just sitting next to some son-of-a-bitch."
Arnold leaves behind an eight-month-old daughter and a pregnant wife.
When contact by the Spectator, Arnold's colleaugues would only say that he was a good friend and that his loss was difficult to handle. They planned to hold a memorial service on Friday, July 16 for family and close friends.
His shocking murder has left many that were close to him bitter and upset.
"I'm not interested if ten people are murdered in Dunajska Streda," said one friend, referring to the March 25 mafia-related murder in the southern Slovak town. "But this was someone who wasn't bothering anyone. Should I now be afraid to go somewhere, too?"
The Interior Ministry's Ivor said that Polóny, who has tattoes spiralling up both arms, may have been demanding protection money. He may also be a drug addict, Ivor said.
The investigation is continuing.
With additional reporting by Sharon Otterman
2. Aug 1999 at 0:00 | Chris Togneri