Man Dressed as Joker Stabs Tokyo Train Passengers

Riders jumped through windows to flee fire set by attacker
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2021 9:50 AM CDT
Updated Oct 31, 2021 12:40 PM CDT
Man Stabs Passengers on Tokyo Train, Sets Fire
Emergency workers and police investigate an attack at a train station in Tokyo on Sunday.   (NTV via AP)

A man dressed in Batman's Joker costume and brandishing a knife on a Tokyo commuter train stabbed several passengers on Sunday before starting a fire, which sent people scrambling to escape and jumping from windows, police and witnesses said. The Tokyo Fire Department said 17 passengers were injured, including three seriously, the AP reports. Not all of them were stabbed, and most of the other injuries were not serious, the agency said. The attacker, identified as a 24-year-old man, was arrested on the spot and was being investigated on suspicion of attempted murder, NHK said.

Nippon Television reported that the suspect told police that he wanted to kill and get the death penalty, and that he used an earlier train stabbing case as an example. 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 said the attack happened inside the Keio train near the Kokuryo station. TV footage showed firefighters, police, and paramedics rescuing the passengers, many of whom escaped through train windows. In one video, passengers were running from another car, where flames were gushing.

NHK said the suspect, after stabbing passengers, poured a liquid resembling oil from a plastic bottle, then set the fire. Shunsuke Kimura, who filmed the video, told NHK that he saw passengers desperately running and that while he was trying to figure out what happened, he heard an explosive noise and saw smoke wafting. He jumped from a window, falling on the platform and injuring 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." While shooting deaths are rare in Japan, the country has had a series of high-profile knife killings in recent years.

(Read more Tokyo stories.)

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