3 tourists killed in Guam stabbing spree

2013-02-13 12:01
Chad Ryan De Soto is questioned by police after allegedly driving a car through a crowd of people, crashing into a store, and stabbing several individuals. (The Pacific Daily, Rick Cruz/ AP)

Chad Ryan De Soto is questioned by police after allegedly driving a car through a crowd of people, crashing into a store, and stabbing several individuals. (The Pacific Daily, Rick Cruz/ AP)

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Hagatna - Two Japanese tourists were killed and 11 injured when a knife-wielding man went on a rampage after ramming his car into a shop outside a luxury Guam resort, stunning the Pacific nation on Wednesday.

The attack occurred late on Tuesday when the man drove his car up a pavement near the Outrigger Guam Resort and crashed it into a convenience store, before jumping out and stabbing bystanders, police said.

The Japanese foreign ministry said it had been informed of two fatalities and 11 injuries.

"At least 13 Japanese nationals were injured, of whom two people died," a ministry official said in Tokyo.

Guam police initially reported three deaths but later said there had only been two confirmed fatalities so far.

They said a 21-year-old local named Chad Ryan Desoto had been charged with two counts of murder and 13 each of attempted murder and aggravated assault, adding that further charges may be pending.

Shock, grief


Officials could provide no immediate explanation for the attack, which Guam governor Eddie Calvo said had shocked the nation of about 180 000, an idyllic tropical destination that attracts almost a million Japanese visitors annually.

"We are shocked and grieving with the families of those who were injured and who died," Calvo said in a statement addressed "to the people of Japan".

"This is not the kind of thing that happens in our community. Anyone who has been to Guam knows this."

Local woman Ashley Quichocho said she was in a cafe near the resort's entrance when the car sped past and crashed into the convenience store.

She said the man then got out, produced a knife and went on the attack.

"He started stabbing someone and I started freaking out. He was just running back and forth stabbing people," she told the
Pacific Daily News.

Customers hurt

Quichocho said she fled into the resort to escape.

"He came out of the car and started attacking people. It was scary," another witness, Lendi Cruz, said.

Japanese travel agent HIS said eight of its customers were hurt in the stabbing spree.

"Eight of our tourists were near the site and were affected," a spokesperson for the company said in Tokyo.

"They were all taken to hospital, with none of them seriously injured. But we still don't have a detailed report from there."

Japanese media reported women were stabbed to death but officials in both Guam and Tokyo could not confirm the information.

Isolated incident

The Pacific Daily News said at least two of the injured were babies, while a spokesperson for the Guam Memorial Hospital told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the victims' ages ranged from eight months to 82.

The hospital declined to comment on the condition of the victims when contacted by AFP.

About 80% of Guam's international visitors are Japanese and provide a major source of revenue for the economy.

Governor Calvo said the attack was an isolated incident by a lone criminal and Guam was committed to ensuring its visitors were safe.

He said the police presence in the tourist area had been increased and the attacker would be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".

"I assure you, my friends, we will not let this go unpunished," he said.

- SAPA

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