Tuesday, May 28: A mass stabbing devastated the town of Kawasaki, Japan when a knife-wielding attacker went on a rampage stabbing as many as a dozen people including several schoolchildren before turning on himself and stabbing himself to death.
According to local media, the suspected attacker was a man in his 50’s who died of his wounds in which he sustained after he killed himself, but not before injuring at least 16 others.
One eyewitness told NHK,
No immediate detail has been released of the suspect’s motives.
“I will kill you”
The number of casualties has been confirmed by emergency services.
A 12-year-old schoolgirl and a 39-year-old man have died from their injuries sustained during the attack, as confirmed by Kiyoshi Matsuda, deputy director of the Nippon Medical School Musashi Kosugi Hospital.
The tragedy reportedly began when witnesses heard children scream and saw a man clasping a knife near a bus stop and shouting “I will kill you”, a 57-year-old witness told Asahi Shimbun.
Another witness who only identified him as Matsumoto, aged 25-years old, heard the screams just after waking up, he told AFP,
He described their screams as, “it’s hard to describe what it was like, how it sounded. It wasn’t girls having fun, it was a sound that was absolutely not normal”.
Another official from St. Marianna University School of Medicine also confirmed that a woman in her 40’s alongside three other girls suffered serious injuries “main to their heads and necks”.
They were rushed to the intensive care unit and would require surgery to save their lives.
Attack meant to target schoolchildren
According to fire department officials, they received the first emergency calls around 8 am local time ( 7 am Singapore time). This was during the hours of the early morning commute as children boarded the bus to school and adults left for work.
A local unnamed resident gave a statement that children attending the Caritas school would line up for the bus at the site where the crime occurred, every day.
Three hours later, the scene of the attack was still packed with emergency personnel and an orange medical tent was set up by emergency workers to treat the wounded.
A white school bus with blue stripes with “Caritas Gakuen (school)” on its side was parked nearby according to an onsite AFP correspondent.
Violent crimes extremely rare
Japan is a country with one of the lowest violent crime rates in the developed world, children are often able to travel to and fro from schools unsupervised by a parent or guardian. Events of bloodshed are indeed rare.
However, the country is not without a few high-profile attacks.
The most recent one was in 2018, where a man brought forth the implementation of new security measures on the bullet train rail service after he stabbed one person to death and injured two others.
US president Donald Trump who is on a state visit to Japan when the tragedy struck said, “all Americans stand with the people of Japan and grieve for the victims and for their families”.