Knife-wielding attacker kills at least 2, wounds 11 on Guam

Story highlights

  • A tourism official calls the "isolated" incident Guam's "worst tragedy" in decades
  • A Japanese official says two of its citizens died and 12 were injured
  • A Guam official had said that three were killed and 11 were wounded
  • News outlets say man plowed into a crowd, then started stabbing people
A knife-wielding attacker killed at least two Japanese tourists and wounded 11 others on Tuesday in a tourist district on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, government officials said.
The incident took place in Tumon on Guam's west coast, said Andy Gibson, an official in Gov. Eddie Calvo's office.
Gibson said three people died and 11 suffered injuries in the ordeal. A spokesperson from Japan's foreign affairs ministry, meanwhile, said that two Japanese tourists were killed and 12 other Japanese were hospitalized.
"(This) represents the worst tragedy that this island has seen in many decades," said Mark Baldyga, chairman of the Guam Visitors Bureau board.
The bloodshed occurred around 10 p.m. Tuesday (7 a.m. ET Tuesday), when a man drove onto a sidewalk by the Tumon Sands Plaza and Outrigger Guam Resort, according to the Pacific Daily News, the local newspaper.
He crashed into a store, left his vehicle and began stabbing people, the newspaper reported.
It was not immediately clear how many of the approximately 14 casualties came when the man drove onto the sidewalk and into the store and how many were stabbed.
Baldyga called the attack "an isolated incident," albeit one that has greatly shaken those on the island, be they residents or tourists.
"Our hearts go out to the families of the victims," he said. "The people of Guam and the people of Japan have enjoyed a long and close relationship as friends for many decades. The victims will remain in the hearts and prayers of all Guamanians for many years to come."
The visitors bureau official said the "lone individual" responsible for the violence was "immediately apprehended" by police and "will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
The suspect is charged with two counts of murder, 13 counts of attempted murder and 13 counts of aggravated assault, police told the Pacific Daily News newspaper.
Guam's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, with much of it coming from Asian countries. The island's official visitors bureau describes Tumon Bay as "the island's premier resort destination," featuring "luxurious international standard hotels ... set in landscaped gardens on the beach."
The Guam Visitors Bureau has translators at the hospital where the victims were transported, according to Pacific Daily News, a Gannett newspaper. Calvo told the same newspaper that he had reached out to Japanese consular officials after the incident.
"The safety of our visitors and local community is a top priority, and we will continue to provide one of the safest visitor destinations in the world," Baldyga said. "It is simply a very sad tragedy that this one isolated incident has caused so much damage to the families of the victims.
"As a father myself, I can only imagine their suffering."