A 49-year-old man has injured 20 children with a hammer inside a primary school in China’s capital, officials say.
Three of the children have serious but non-life-threatening injuries, the Xicheng district government said on its social media account, adding that the attack took place at around 11.17am local time.
The suspect, surnamed Jia, was apprehended at the scene and an investigation has been launched, the statement said. All the wounded children are receiving hospital treatment.
A native of northern Heilongjiang province, Jia was employed through a labour service company to perform daily maintenance work at the school. His contract was set to expire this month and had not been renewed.
As an expression of his dissatisfaction, Xicheng district said, Jia wielded a hammer that he normally used for work to injure students during a class.
Earlier, there were conflicting reports over what weapon was used, if one at all.
“The children were attacked while they were doing exercises on the school running track. The attacker was standing nearby and used a hammer-like weapon to hit the children’s skulls one by one, before he was stopped by the PE teacher,” one parent wrote on WeChat, according to the South China Morning Post.
The primary school, Beijing No. 1 Affiliated Elementary School of Xuanwu Normal School, was founded in 1908. According to the school’s website, it has 2,537 students and 199 teaching personnel.
Many schools in China have beefed up security following violence against students and family members.
In 2010, nearly 20 children were killed in knife attacks outside school gates.
Last April, nine people were killed outside a middle school in northwestern China, allegedly by a former student seeking revenge for having been bullied. In November, five people were killed when a car plowed into a crowd of children outside a northeastern Chinese kindergarten.
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