© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

2 Killed, At Least 17 Injured In Japan Mass Stabbing

Updated at 7:10 a.m. ET

At least two victims were killed, including an 11-year-old girl, and about 17 were injured in a mass stabbing attack near Tokyo, Tuesday morning.

The knife-wielding man attacked a group of elementary school children as they were boarding a school bus at about 7:45 a.m. local time in the city of Kawasaki, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported.

"He came up from behind the kids as they were lining up and that's why didn't have time to flee," Kuhn said.

The second fatality was the parent of one of the children and an official with Japan's Foreign Ministry, according to Kuhn.

The suspect reportedly stabbed himself in the neck before he was detained. He has since died from his injuries.

An eyewitness told police that the suspect, armed with two knives, approached the school bus and began stabbing children "one after another," Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Most of the victims are students at Caritas Elementary School, a private Catholic school run by Canadian nuns. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the Associate Press reported.

"A man stabbed them," Dai Nagase, spokesman for the Kawasaki Fire Department, told AFP. "We received an emergency call at 7:44 am, which said four elementary school children were stabbed."

The motive for the attack is unknown. Officials said the assailant had no connection with the school, which has left parents, educators and the community at large deeply shaken.

Like much of Japan, violence and crime rates in Kawasaki City are "most uncommon," Kuhn reported.

"It's an incredibly quiet and residential neighborhood," he added.

Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, people left offerings of flowers and drinks on the sidewalk near the site of the incident where dried bloodstains were still visible.

The fatal incident took place during President Donald Trump's visit celebrating the start of the Emperor Naruhito's new reign. He expressed his condolences and support while visiting a Japanese warship at the port of Yokosuka.

This is a breaking news story. Some things reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.