Thu, Feb 14, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Two tourists from Japan stabbed to death in Guam

AFP, HAGATNA, Guam

Two women were stabbed to death and an eight-month-old baby knifed in a frenzied attack on 14 Japanese tourists on the Pacific island nation of Guam, a court heard yesterday.

The attack happened late on Tuesday, when a local man drove his car up a pavement near the Outrigger Guam Resort and rammed into a convenience store, before jumping out and stabbing bystanders.

Court documents allege Chad Ryan Desoto, 21, admitted he was intent on causing maximum carnage after being arrested following the rampage, which stunned the normally sleepy tropical nation.

“The defendant later stated to police officers that he had intended on hurting as many people [as possible] with his vehicle initially and subsequently with his knife,” documents tendered in the Hagatna Superior Court said.

The court was told six people were mowed down by Desoto’s car and eight more were stabbed, including 81-year-old Kazuko Uehara and Rie Sugiyama, 29, who both suffered fatal injuries.

Sugiyama’s eight-month-old son, referred to in the court documents only as “R.S.,” was also stabbed, but survived.

Officials could provide no immediate explanation for the attack.

Guam Governor Eddie Calvo said it had shocked the nation of about 180,000, which attracts almost a million Japanese visitors annually.

“We are shocked and grieving with the families of those who were injured and who died,” Calvo said in a statement addressed “to the people of Japan.”

“This is not the kind of thing that happens in our community. Anyone who has been to Guam knows this,” he said.

Local woman Ashley Quichocho said she was in a cafe near the resort’s entrance when a car sped past and smashed into the convenience store.

She said the man then got out, produced a knife and went on the attack.

“He started stabbing someone and I started freaking out. He was just running back and forth stabbing people,” she told the Pacific Daily News.

Quichocho said she fled into the resort to escape.

“He came out of the car and started attacking people. It was scary,” witness Lendi Cruz said.

About 80 percent of Guam’s international visitors are Japanese and they provide a major source of revenue for the economy, with tourist numbers reportedly recovering recently after a slump following Japan’s tsunami-quake disaster in 2011.

Calvo said the attack was an isolated incident by a lone criminal and Guam was committed to ensuring its visitors were safe.

Guam Visitors Board chairman Mark Baldyga said the country had long been seen as one of the safest destinations in the region.

However, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga warned his compatriots to be careful when traveling overseas.

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