Seven children and the owners of a kindergarten were hacked to death in northwest China yesterday, the latest in a string of assaults on schools that has stoked public alarm about the government’s grip on order.
Eleven children were wounded in the attack soon after the school day started in Nanzheng County, Shaanxi Province, Xinhua news agency reported. Two children were in serious condition.
A 48-year-old man, Wu Huanming, used a kitchen cleaver to kill five boys and two girls as well as the mother-son team who owned and ran the private kindergarten, Xinhua said.
Wu then returned home and committed suicide, Xinhua said, citing a statement from the province emergency office.
“His motive for the attack was not immediately known,” it said.
One local man, Zheng Xiulan, said the attacker had rented out the rooms for the privately run kindergarten, located in a row of low houses with concrete yards.
“Only about two of the children in the kindergarten were not injured, but I don’t know how many died in the end. There was blood everywhere,” Zheng said by telephone. “I don’t know why he did it ... I hadn’t heard that he was mentally ill. He wasn’t poor either.”
Officials in Nanzheng would not comment on the attack, but the rampage is sure to stoke public disquiet and demands for stricter school security after five attacks on school children in recent weeks.
“Of course, we’re scared,” said a resident of a village several kilometers from the kindergarten where the latest attack happened. She gave only her surname, Li.
“We’ve all heard about it. I also have grandchildren, but they’re already at primary school,” Li said by telephone. “But everybody has to wonder why there are people who can do this.”
In five school attacks since March, 18 people were murdered — all but three of them children — and more than 80 were injured.