A man carrying a knife in each hand and screaming “I will kill you!” attacked a group of schoolgirls and adults just outside Tokyo on Tuesday, killing two and injuring 16 others, officials said.
Most of the victims were children who were lined up at a bus stop near Noborito Park in the city of Kawasaki when a man in his 50s began slashing them with knives. Quoting police, city officials said that the suspect was captured but died from a self-inflicted cut to the neck.
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, with their 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,” said Yasuko Atsukata, adding that she then saw one person collapse and then another one. “The color of their white shirts turned red after they collapsed, then I understood they got stabbed.”
Masami Arai, an official at the Kawasaki city office, said 16 people, most of them schoolgirls at a local Catholic school, were injured and three others, including the attacker, were believed to be dead. Arai said three of the injuries were serious and 13 others were not life-threatening.
Police wouldn’t confirm specifics about the attacker. His identity and motive weren’t immediately known. Witnesses said as the attack unfolded a bus driver shouted at the man with two knives, and as he was running away he cut his own neck, collapsing in a pool of blood as the police seized him.
Most of the victims attended Caritas Gakuen, a well-known private school founded by Soeurs de la Charite de Quebec, an organization of Catholic nuns in Quebec City in Canada.
All but two adult victims are in elementary school, according to city and hospital officials, and their ages are believed to be from 6 to 12. The school runs from elementary through high school. (NBCNEWS)