Beijing — An attacker killed eight students and injured two others at an elementary school in central China on the first day of the new semester, police said Tuesday. The attack occurred around 8 a.m. Monday in Chaoyangpo village of Enshi city in Hubei province, Enshi police said in a statement.
The suspect is a 40-year-old man surnamed Yu, who is in custody and being investigated. How the children were attacked was not disclosed. The motive for the attack was unclear.
According to the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly, which cited staff from Hubei prison, the suspect was released last June after serving his sentence for attempted murder.
Schoolchildren in China have been the target of often fatal attacks by people bearing grudges or considered mentally ill.
A kindergarten teacher was arrested in eastern China in April after 23 students were sickened in a suspected act of deliberate poisoning. The teacher was believed to have contaminated the children's food with sodium nitrite, the Jiaozuo city police said on their official microblog. The motivation for the apparent attack was not confirmed.
In October last year, a knife-wielding assailant injured 14 children at a kindergarten in the western Chinese city of Chongqing.
In June last year, two children were stabbed to death by a man outside an elementary school in Shanghai.
In April 2018 a 28-year-old former pupil allegedly seeking revenge for having been bullied stabbed nine pupils to death outside a middle school in northwestern China. Another 10 people were hospitalized with injuries resulting from the rampage in the rural area.
China tightly restricts private gun ownership, making knives and homemade explosives the most common weapons in violent crimes.