Polish mayor dies after being stabbed in heart at age 53

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – The popular liberal mayor of the Polish port city of Gdansk died yesterday after he was stabbed during a charity event the evening before by an ex-convict who stormed onstage and said it was revenge against a political party the politician once belonged to.

Pawel Adamowicz, 53, died as a result of wounds to the heart and abdomen in spite of efforts to save him that involved a five-hour operation and blood transfusions, Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski said. “The fight for his life has been lost,” Szumowski said.

The assassination of Adamowicz, a six-term mayor who often mingled freely with citizens of his city, sent Poland into shock.

Even before his death was announced, rallies against violence were being planned to take place across Poland in the evening. In Gdansk, the city flag was lowered to half-staff and a Mass was planned for later in the day.

The right-wing ruling Law and Justice party faced accusations from its critics that an atmosphere of hatred against Adamowicz and others liberal political opponents helped instigate the attack. Government officials appeared to be pushing back against that accusation, strongly denouncing the attack and stressing that the 27-year-old perpetrator had a history of violent bank robberies and possible mental illness.

The ex-convict who rushed onto the stage with a knife last Sunday and stabbed Adamowicz shouted that it was revenge against Civic Platform, which Adamowicz belonged to for many years.