SHIZUOKA – Police have arrested a teen suspected of involvement in a knife attack Tuesday on a 9-year-old boy — causing serious head trauma — who was returning home from school in Shizuoka Prefecture, local authorities said Wednesday.
The suspect, who claims to be 18 years old, was arrested for trespassing on school property. Police are investigating the attack as a case of attempted murder.
Firefighters received an emergency call from a woman at around 3:50 p.m. Tuesday saying she had found the boy lying in the road. They found him about 300 meters from Takasu Minami Elementary School in the city of Fujieda.
The fourth-grader had a 20-centimeter wound to his head and may have a fractured skull, they said.
Some other pupils who were on their way home with the victim fled during the attack and ran back to the school, the local education board said, adding that a knife was later found at the scene.
Teachers from the school hurried to the site of the attack, where a youth carrying a hammer approached them. They backed off as he ran to the school but then managed to overwhelm him there and handed him over to police, according to the board.
The teenager told police that he had been “bullied” in the past, according to an investigative source.
On Wednesday, the education board convened an emergency meeting, attended by elementary and junior high school principals, to discuss preventing such attacks.
“I am angry that such a painful incident could happen,” said Tadashi Nakamura, the head of the board. “We will renew our commitment to building a school where children can study with a sense of security.”
Local authorities in many parts of the nation are already studying ways to ensure the safety of pupils after a 7-year-old girl was killed on her way home from school in Niigata in May. And in March last year, a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl was killed on her way to school in Chiba Prefecture.
One woman said that when she heard the sirens of ambulances and police cars and saw the teachers running around, she told children who were playing nearby to come into her home to stay safe.
“It scares me to think of my own child being attacked,” she said.
A 78-year-old man said: “There have been several incidents in which children have been attacked. But I’m surprised that one has occurred in our neighborhood.”