Around 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning in Kawasaki, Japan, an assailant wielding two knives killed two and injured at least 17 people waiting at a bus stop in the Tokyo suburb. One child, reported to be 11 years old, and one adult victim, have died. 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 Caritas elementary school, the only Catholic 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.”
Police have named the girl who was killed as 11-year-old Hanako Kuribayashi. The adult who was killed was 39-year-old Satoshi Oyama, the father of a first-grader and a Foreign Ministry official. According to the Caritas school director Tetsuro Saito, all 17 children who were stabbed were girls; most were elementary students.
The Alleged Attacker
The suspect is reportedly a 51-year-old man, 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.
This post has been updated.