A man carrying a knife in each hand and screaming “I will kill you” yesterday attacked a group of schoolgirls near a school bus parked at a bus stop just outside Tokyo, killing two people and injuring at least 17 before killing himself, officials said.
Most of the victims were students at a Catholic elementary school who were lined up at the bus stop near Noborito Park in the city of Kawasaki when a man in his 50s began slashing them with knives.
City officials, quoting police, said the suspect was captured, but died from a self-inflicted slash in his neck.
Photo: Kyodo via Reuters
Witnesses described a hellish scene: children and adults falling to the ground, some with their shirts soaked with blood, dozens of children running and screaming for help, and school bags and books scattered on the ground.
“I heard a scream so I stopped and turned around to see what happened. It was not a normal tone of voice,” Yasuko Atsukata said.
She said she saw one person collapse, and then another.
“The color of their white shirts turned red after they collapsed, then I understood they got stabbed,” she said.
In a nearby parking lot, a scared-looking boy was in shock with scratches on his face, hands and legs, apparently from falling to the ground as he ran for his life.
Police would not confirm specifics about the attacker except that he died. His identity and motive were not immediately known.
Kawasaki city official Masami Arai said most of the injured were students at Caritas Gakuen, a Catholic school founded by Soeurs de la Charite de Quebec, an organization of Catholic nuns in Quebec City, Canada.
Arai said three of the injuries were serious.
Kanagawa prefectural police confirmed that 17 people were injured and three others had died, including a man “who is not a victim, but linked to the case.”
Police identified two of the dead as 11-year-old Hanako Kuribayashi and Satoshi Oyama, a 39-year-old government employee who was taking his child to the bus stop.
Both had been slashed in the neck and the head, hospital officials said.
Caritas chairman Tetsuro Saito told a news conference that he was “struggling to fight back my anger.”
“My heart is broken with pain when I think of the innocent children and their parents who send their children to our school with love who were victimized by this savage act,” he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he was outraged by the attack.
“Many small children were victimized, and I feel strong resentment,” Abe said as he was hosting US President Donald Trump on a four-day state visit, which ended yesterday. “I will take all possible measures to protect the safety of children.”
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