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China school attack suspect arrested

English.news.cn   2012-12-17 11:33:34            

ZHENGZHOU, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A suspect in a knife attack on students at an elementary school on Friday in central China's Henan Province has been arrested.

The Guangshan County People's Procuratorate confirmed on Monday that it has ratified the arrest of Min Yongjun on a charge of jeopardizing public security in an incident in which more than 20 children and an elderly villager were injured.

According to police, Min Yongjun (previously reported as Min Yingjun) is thought to have burst into an elderly woman's house near the elementary school of Chenpeng village in Guangshan county, at around 7 a.m. on Friday, hitting her and stabbing her with a kitchen knife he picked up in the house. Min then rushed to the school, and allegedly knifed 23 students, before being subdued by teachers and police.

Previous reports had said 22 students were injured. However, police found that another youngster had escaped and run home after being stabbed.

Initial police investigation found Min, a long-term epilepsy sufferer, had been strongly psychologically affected by rumors of the upcoming end of the world predicted by ancient prophecy. December 21 marks the conclusion of a 5,125-year-long Mayan calendar, a point associated with the apocalypse.

His motives for the attack are still under further investigation.

Rao Mingsheng, health director for Guangshan, said on Monday that none of the people injured in the attack were currently in a critical condition. Some remained locally hospitalized, while others have been transferred to bigger hospitals in Xinyang City of Henan Province, and Wuhan, capital of central Hubei Province.

Most of the students sustained head injuries or cuts to their fingers or ears, and required immediate surgery.

Authorities in Xinyang City, which administers Guangshan, have ordered reinforced patrols near schools in the city to defend against attacks targeting teachers and students.

Witnesses said that Min burst into the school building and randomly hacked at students as he ran from the first floor to the third floor.

Most of the students in the village school are "left-behind" children, whose parents work as migrant workers in cities.

"The injured children only had grandparents or relatives by their sides. Many of the senior people fainted at seeing their kids horribly wounded," said the mother of a five-year-old student in the school.

Wei Yuegen, grandfather of Wei Xiang, a six-year-old victim, said the boy was bathed in blood on his head and clothes when he saw him.

"I did not recognize my grandson until he called me when I arrived at the entrance of the school, where everybody was crying," the elderly man recalled.

The boy, who suffered a skull fracture, was among the most severely wounded.

Few people were seen on the streets in the impoverished village after the accident.

Some villagers told Xinhua that Min was a familiar face, as he was from Zoupeng, a neighboring village only 6 km away.

Villagers in Min's hometown were shocked at Friday's atrocity, and could not understand how Min may have executed the attack.

Min was described as outspoken man with an illness. He has two daughters, with the eldest also of elementary school age. His wife was said to have sought city jobs for many years, spending little time at home.

The Guangshan county government has declined media interviews and obstructed reporters from interviewing the school and hospitals.

The government's lack of transparency in handling the incident has triggered condemnation on the Internet.

Local officials have been criticized for perceived irresponsible and indifferent attitudes toward the tragedy.

The village head of Chenpeng told Xinhua by phone that he was out of the village for "private business," and could not comment the incident.

An official with the county's education department was found playing computer card games when Xinhua reporters called at his office for an interview on the school attack.

Editor: Fang Yang
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