At least two Japanese tourists were killed and 11 wounded when a knife-wielding man went on a stabbing spree outside a resort in the Pacific island nation of Guam, officials said Wednesday.
The attack occurred late Tuesday when the man drove his car up a pavement near the Outrigger Guam Resort and rammed it into a convenience store, before jumping out and stabbing bystanders.
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 reported three deaths in total and said a 20-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was arrested. They said a motive for the attack had not yet been determined.
“He came out of the car and started attacking people. It was scary,” witness Lendi Cruz told AFP.
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.
Quichocho said she fled into the resort to escape.
Guam governor Eddie Calvo said the attack had stunned the nation of about 180,000, which attracts almost a million visitors from Japan annually, providing a major source of revenue for the economy.
“We are shocked and grieving with the families of those who were injured and who died,” he 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.”
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.
Japanese media reported women were stabbed to death but officials in both Guam and Tokyo could not confirm the information.
The Pacific Daily News said at least two of the injured were babies, while a spokeswoman for the Guam Memorial Hospital told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the victims’ ages ranged from eight months to 82.
The hospital spokeswoman said translators were being provided for Japanese patients hospitalised after the attack.
The hospital declined to comment on the condition of the victims when contacted by AFP.