TOKYO (AP) — A man dressed in Batman’s Joker costume and brandishing a knife on a Tokyo commuter train on Sunday stabbed several passengers before starting a fire, which sent people scrambling to escape and jumping from windows, police and witnesses said.
Tokyo Fire Department reported that 17 people sustained injuries, with three being seriously. The agency stated that not all passengers were stabbed, and the majority of other injuries weren’t serious.
NHK reported that the attacker was a 24-year old man who was immediately arrested and being investigated for attempted murder. The motive for the attack was unknown at this time.
Nippon Television stated that the suspect claimed he wanted death and that he had used an old train stabbing case to illustrate his point.
Witnesses told police that the attacker was wearing a bright outfit — a green shirt, a blue suit and a purple coat — like the Joker in Batman comics or someone going to a Halloween event, according to media reports.
Tokyo Police officials claimed that the attack occurred inside the Keio train, near Kokuryo station.
Television footage showed paramedics and firefighters rescuing many passengers from train windows. A video showed passengers fleeing from an unattended car.
NHK stated that after stabbing the passengers, the suspect poured something resembling oil out of a plastic bag and lit fire to partially burn seats.
Shunsuke, the person who recorded the video, said that he witnessed passengers running desperately. While trying to understand what had happened, Shunsuke heard an explosion and smelled smoke. The other incident saw him leap from a window, but he fell on the platform. This also injured his shoulder.
“Train doors were closed and we had no idea what was happening, and we jumped from the windows,” Kimura said. “It was horrifying.”
This attack on the Tokyo train was the second in just two months.
On August 31, a man aged 36 stabbed 10 people on the Tokyo commuter train. This happened the day before the Tokyo Olympics close ceremony. Later, the suspect told police that his goal was to attack happy women.
Japan is a country where shootings are not common, but it has seen a few high-profile knife deaths in recent years.
Two knives were used by a man to attack a group schoolgirls at the bus station outside Tokyo. He also killed and wounded 17 people before taking his own life. 2018 saw the attack of a knife on a bullet train by a man who killed one passenger and injured two others. A former employee of a home for disabled people killed 19 and injures more than 20.