Axe-wielding farmer hacks to death two children and four adults on way to kindergarten in China
A farmer with mental health problems killed six people, two of them children, with an axe as they made their way to a kindergarten in China Wednesday, the local government and media reports said.
Inconsolable: A woman grieves as she and other family members of
victims gather after a 30-year-old attacker killed six people with an axe
in Gongyi. PIC/AFP
The incident is the latest in a series of violent assaults on children involving people with suspected psychiatric problems in China, which experts have blamed on rapid social change as the country's economy booms.
The 30-year-old farmer carried out the deadly assault in Henan province's Gongyi city, in central China, early yesterday morning, the city government said in a statement.
One child and three adults were killed on the spot, while the other child and one more adult died of their injuries in hospital, Gongyi local authorities said in a statement. The children -- both girls -- were aged one and four.
"According to locals, the suspect Wang Hongbin has a history of mental health illness," the Gongyi city government said, adding that he had been detained by police.
One witness said he rushed out onto the street when he heard people crying for help. "We used mops to fend off the axe-wielding man and waited for the police to come," Cao Jianli, a local civil servant, was quoted as saying. The report said the suspect's medical records indicated he suffered from schizophrenia.
An employee at the Tongxing Kindergarten in Gongyi, who would not give her name, confirmed that the two children were pupils at the establishment, adding the attack had not happened at the preschool itself but on the street.
She refused to comment further and hung up the phone. An employee at a dog centre in Gongyi, surnamed Wang, said the incident happened near a crossroads, close to a supermarket, and the area had been cordoned off by police.
Experts say that the assaults show that China is paying the price for focusing on more than 30 years of economic growth while ignoring problems linked to rapid social change.
>> At the end of August, eight pupils were hurt when a staff member at a day care centre for migrant workers' children in Shanghai went on a stabbing spree.
>> Last year, 17 people -- 15 of them children -- were killed and more than 80 wounded in at least five major attacks at schools in China.
>> Two of the attackers were executed and two others committed suicide. The suspect in the fifth attack was sentenced to death in June 2010.