A man who was dressed as ‘The Joker’, told police he wanted to be executed when they arrested him for attempted murder after he injured 17 people in a knife rampage onboard a Tokyo commuter train.
Witnesses described how the 24-year-old attacker stabbed 10 people and poured what is believed to have been oil around the carriage before lighting it on fire, causing panic among passengers.
It was also reported hydrochloric acid was thrown during the attack, which occurred on the Keio express line bound for Shinjuku, the world’s busiest rail station.
The Tokyo Fire Department noted that in all, 17 passengers were injured, including three that were serious, in the Halloween attack. Officials also stated that “Not all of them were stabbed and most of the injuries were not serious”
A man believed to be in his 60’s was unconscious and in critical condition after being stabbed, according to some media reports. The attacker was arrested on the spot and is now being investigated on suspicion of attempted murder.
His motive was not immediately known but it is reported that the suspect told investigators he “wanted to kill people and be given the death penalty”. He also told them he spread lighter fluid in the train.
Local media, NHK, reported that the suspect told Police that he used an earlier train stabbing case as an example.
According to NHK, witnesses told police that the attacker was wearing a bright outfit – a green shirt, a blue suit, and a purple coat that resembled that of the Joker from the Batman comics.
A female passenger disclosed that the attacker carried out the act without showing any emotion.
“He held a knife and started spreading liquid. He was committing this act without showing any emotion, just mechanically. I think that brought fear to everyone”Female Passenger
Television footage showed a number of firefighters, police officials, and paramedics rescuing the passengers, many of whom escaped through the train windows. In one video, passengers were running from another car, where flames were gushing.
Shunsuke Kimura, who filmed the video, told NHK that he saw passengers desperately running, and while he was trying to figure out what happened, he heard an explosive noise and saw smoke wafting. He also jumped from a window but fell on the platform and hurt his shoulder.
“Train doors were closed and we had no idea what was happening, and we jumped from the windows. It was horrifying”.Shunsuke Kimura
One video uploaded on Twitter showed a steady stream of people running away from a train car where, seconds later, a blaze lit up.
Another video showed passengers rushing to squeeze out of the train’s windows and onto the platform where the train had made an emergency stop. Joker Joker
“I thought it was a Halloween stunt”, one witness told the Yomiuri newspaper, recalling the moment he saw other passengers running in a panic towards his train car.
“Then, I saw a man walking this way, slowly waving a long knife”, the witness described how there was blood on the knife.
A male passenger also said: “I heard a loud bang and saw flames and smoke in the back. Everyone was panicking”.
Many passengers escaped through train windows after the doors failed to open immediately when it stopped. Officers were seen entering the train where the suspect sat and did not resist arrest.
It is the second attack involving a knife on a Tokyo train in two months. In August, the day before the Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony, a 36-year-old man stabbed 10 passengers on a commuter train in Tokyo in a random burst of violence. The suspect later told police that he wanted to attack women who looked happy.