A total of 19 people were stabbed in an act of public violence this morning in Kawasaki, Japan.
The attack took place about 13 miles from Tokyo, at a park in the city of Kawasaki. It happened as children were waiting at a bus stop—a man apparently in his 50s, began attacking, slashing at the children with knives.
According to the Associated Press, Kanagawa prefectural police “confirmed 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.”
In the same AP article, it was reported, “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,” said Yasuko Atsukata. 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.”
The suspect approached the girls and then began attacking them one by one, some of the children yelled for their parents, they scattered and ran, some were visibly traumatized, some had scratches on their faces from falling as they ran away.
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 President Donald Trump on a four-day state visit, which ended Tuesday. “I will take all possible measures to protect the safety of children.”
Japan has not had the number of senseless acts of violence as other countries have had in recent years, but it has not been immune to these incidents. There was an incident in 2016 when someone allegedly killed almost two dozen people in a home for the disabled, and also in 2016 when a man stabbed four people at a library in Northern Japan.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press