Around 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning in Kawasaki, Japan, an assailant wielding two knives killed two and injured at least 16 people waiting at a bus stop in the Tokyo suburb. At least one child reported to be 12 years old, and one adult victim, have died. Among the injured are 13 elementary schoolchildren. The police report that the attacker also died of a self-inflicted injury.
The attack took place at a bus stop where children, reportedly between the ages of 6 and 7, waited for a ride to a local Catholic school, the only such school in Kawasaki, a suburb about 45 minutes south of Tokyo.
Toshichika Ishii, a 57-year-old man who spoke to the New York Times, was sitting on a park bench near the site of the attack when he heard a child yell, “I’m scared.” He also heard the attacker shouting, “I’m going to kill you.”
Japan’s NHK national television, citing police, said that a man held a knife in each hand as he approached the bus stop and started slashing at children. One witness told the station that the man attempted to make his way onto a bus.
A father who had come to pick up his daughter in the second-grade told the Times that he “just received a standardized alert asking us to pick up our children” and that there “was no reason given” in the message.
The attack occurred on the last day of a Japenese visit by President Trump. “On behalf of the first lady and myself, I want to take a moment to send our prayers and sympathy to the victims of the stabbing attack this morning in Tokyo,” Trump said while visiting a Japanese aircraft carrier. “All Americans stand with the people of Japan and grieve for the victims and for their families.”
A fire department official said that of the casualties at the scene when they arrived, three were not breathing. Of the injured, at least 13 appeared to be schoolchildren.
The girl who was killed was pronounced dead at the hospital. The second fatality was a man in his 30s. Of the wounded, two girls and a woman in her 40s suffered serious injuries, according to the police.
The Alleged Attacker
The suspect is reportedly a man in his 50s, who had knives in both hands as he attacked the crowd. The man reportedly stabbed himself in the neck, and died after being taken to a hospital, according to Japan Today.
Though Japan has a low rate of violent crime, the country faced a similar mass casualty event in 2016 when a knife-wielding man claimed he wanted to kill disabled people attacked a facility where he had worked, killing 19 and wounding 26.