Athugið þessi frétt er meira en 2 mánaða gömul.

Thankful to be alive

24.06.2022 - 13:00
Mynd: RÚV / RÚV
Wednesday morning started normally for Mateusz Dariusz Lasek. He set off for work as usual, planning to drop his young son, Jakub Mateusz, off at Víðivellir pre-school in Hafnarfjörður en-route. They were early and were waiting for the school to open when their car was shot at.

Mateusz has lived in Iceland for 11 years. He is a mechanic working in Reykjavík. He and his wife have two children: a one-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. Mateusz speaks English and Icelandic but felt too shaken by his ordeal to express himself properly. RÚV Polski’s Margrét Adamsdóttir spoke with him in Polish—noting afterwards that it was the topic rather than the choice of language that made it hard to find the right words.

He says he and his son are usually about five minutes early for pre-school and they use the time to chat in the car.

Thought he was a criminal

“Then I heard a sort of click. At first, I thought it was some sort of sound in the car. That something had broken. The click wasn’t very loud, but easily heard. A few seconds later, I heard another click, though louder, and then I felt glass rain down on my back and head. I opened the door and got out of the car to see what was going on; whether someone had thrown a stone at the window or something. Then I saw a man on a balcony with a long gun and he was aiming at our car. I shouted at him ‘What are you doing?’ and ‘Stop this!’ and said I was going to call the police. Then I rang the police right away. There was nobody else in the car park apart from my son and me,” Mateusz explains.

“I started shouting very loud at him and then he flinched. I remember I asked him why he was doing this, and he answered that he thought I was some sort of criminal.”

Young boy traumatised

Mateusz says the incident traumatised his son—not least because he had to yell at his son to hide in the footwell in the front of the car. Mateusz decided to take his son into school, to get him into a safe and familiar place. He next spoke to him when he came home from pre-school.

“We came home and my son started telling his mum what had happened. He said there had been a bad man who broke the windows in our car and that daddy shouted very loudly at him. So he clearly knows what happened. This is his understanding of the event. He doesn’t yet understand that the man was clearly trying to kill us. How else can it be described?”

Off work

Mateusz hopes the ordeal will have no permanent effect on his son. Jakub took his final school outing yesterday before moving on to primary school after the summer holiday.

Mateusz initially thought he needed no help himself, but after talking with his wife decided to seek counselling from the Red Cross. He has trouble concentrating and has decided to take some time off work. He says he has received great support from colleagues, neighbours, and friends—as well as many supportive messages and phone calls.

He says he is nevertheless in crisis mode, still, and is experiencing a wide range of emotions that are hard to explain in words. “I would never have thought that something like this would happen here. I am in great shock. Thank god I am alive, and my son is alive, and that nobody else was hurt in this horrific incident.”

The police investigation is ongoing. Reykjanes District Court yesterday ordered the suspect—a man in his sixties—be held at an appropriate institution for four weeks. Such a custody ruling from a court usually indicates mental health or behavioural considerations that make police custody unsuitable.

The interview with Mateusz, in Polish, can be seen above.

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