Guam establishes memorial fund for victims of car, stabbing rampage

Kyodo

The government of Guam has set up a memorial fund for the victims of last week’s vehicular and stabbing attack that killed three Japanese tourists on the island.

The 2-12 Memorial Fund was initiated Friday by the Guam Visitors Bureau in response to offers of help by the local community. Eight other Japanese and one local resident were injured in Tuesday’s rampage in a major tourist area.

Also Friday, a judge raised the bail amount for the alleged attacker, Chad Ryan De Soto, 21, to $3 million (¥280.5 million).

Mark Baldyga of the visitors’ bureau said the fund will be used to help cover the expenses of the victims’ families and to offer them assistance, adding that his office and the Bank of Guam are accepting donations. He said a memorial Mass will be held Sunday at the island’s Catholic cathedral.

De Soto was brought before the Superior Court of Guam for a second time Friday to be charged with an additional count of aggravated murder following the death Thursday of a third Japanese, Hitoshi Yokota, 51.

Yokota had been in critical condition after being struck by De Soto’s vehicle.

De Soto was represented by a government lawyer for the first time, on the court’s orders. The defense counsel immediately voiced concern that the “heightened publicity” of the case could influence the jury during the trial.

Others were not so forgiving.

“The penalty for crimes of this sort is life imprisonment without any possibility of parole. I am looking forward — we are looking forward — toward a swift conviction,” Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said.

On Friday, the bodies of two other Japanese who were killed, Rie Sugiyama, 28, and her grandmother, Kazuko Uehara, 81, arrived at Narita International Airport. Also aboard the plane were Sugiyama’s 8-month-old and 3-year-old daughters, who both suffered facial injuries during the attack.

Sugiyama and Uehara had traveled to Guam with around 20 relatives to attend the wedding ceremony of Sugiyama’s younger brother.

Investigators allege that De Soto ran down six people with his car, crashed it into a building and then stabbed eight people after getting out of the vehicle.

As of Friday, only one victim was still receiving treatment at Guam Memorial Hospital, a 51-year-old Japanese woman who suffered multiple injuries when she was hit by De Soto’s car. Doctors are monitoring her in the intensive care unit.