TAMUNING, GUAM – The family of the suspect in last week’s vehicular and stabbing rampage on Guam that left three Japanese dead and 11 people injured has expressed remorse, a prominent local official said.
Tamuning Vice Mayor Kenneth Santos, whose municipality is home to Chad Ryan De Soto, said the 21-year-old suspect’s mother was distraught when he met with her Wednesday, the day after the attack, and again Friday. The mother’s name was not disclosed.
“She did tell me that (De Soto) feels remorseful about what happened. . . . She really wants to apologize” to the victims’ families, Santos said.
Stressing that the victims had not been targeted due to their Japanese nationality, Santos disclosed that De Soto’s grandmother is half-Japanese and knows the language.
During his first visit to the De Soto residence, together with the local mayor, Santos said the mother voiced her desire to meet with the victims and their families at the hospital. She was advised that it would not be the best time because the families’ emotions were running high.
In Friday’s meeting, the mother said she intended to prepare a statement for the media with the advice of her church pastor and a lawyer, according to Santos.
“Herself, too, she’s very, very . . . not just shocked, but she’s going through a lot of different emotions. She’s embarrassed, she’s hurting, she’s mad,” he said.
Santos said De Soto’s grandmother and two younger siblings were also remorseful when he visited the family. He added that he had not yet seen or talked with the suspect’s father, who no longer lives with them after reportedly divorcing his wife.
The incident in the Tumon area of Tamuning, considered the heart of Guam’s tourism industry, has forced De Soto’s younger siblings to stay away from school for fear of being picked on, according to Santos.
He said De Soto had been at home earlier on the day of the incident, and that the mother had not noticed any signs of anger or depression.
“The mother doesn’t know why he did it. . . . She can’t believe her son was involved in” such an attack, he said, adding she has yet to see De Soto since police arrested him.
“(The mother said De Soto) was a good kid, and he never gave her any kind of problems,” he added. “She didn’t expect this from him.”
“I don’t know De Soto personally. But, as vice mayor, I can say he has never been in trouble before. He never had a problem with our community,” Santos said.
Quoting some residents in the neighborhood, Santos said De Soto was known for helping people out and for taking part in community activities in Tamuning.
At the same time, Santos said he advised the mother not to take full responsibility for the incident, saying De Soto is an adult and is thus accountable for his actions.
De Soto was arrested immediately after running down pedestrians with his car and then going on a wild stabbing spree, and is being held on $3 million (¥280.5 million) cash bail. He faces multiple charges, including aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and assault.