Fatal Henan bus slashing suspect found 'eating watermelon'

Anyang man accused of killing three children and wounding a dozen passengers in attack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 August, 2013, 10:19am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 August, 2013, 10:18am

A man from Anyang, in Henan province, suspected of killing three children and wounding 12 passengers in a brutal knife attack on a bus was captured by police yesterday, sitting in a market, wearing bloodstained clothes and eating watermelon, state media said.

The bus was carrying 33 passengers from Anyang to Beiguo township on Monday afternoon when the attacker struck. The youngest of the dead was a 10-month-old girl who died in hospital. The two others were boys aged 10 and 17, who died on the way to hospital.

China Central Television identified the attacker as Zhou Jiangbo, a 24-year-old from Neihuang county under Anyang city. The man, who police said had a criminal record, attacked the bus in anger over a family dispute, the report said.

The day before the attack, he had reportedly injured three people in his hometown after an argument with neighbours.

He was seized around noon yesterday as he ate watermelon in a market in Xincun township, 17 kilometres from where the attack occurred. He was still wearing clothes stained with blood from the attack, CCTV said, citing staff at the municipal public security bureau.

The man was recognised by market-goers after police posted wanted posters with a simulated picture of the attacker. Fingerprints and DNA tests proved him to be the wanted man, the said.

The Beijing Times quoted passengers on the bus as saying the attacker boarded the bus smelling strongly of alcohol around 3pm. Minutes later, he forced the driver to crash into an oncoming truck. The vehicles swiped against each other and were only lightly damaged.

In the confusion, however, the man began attacking passengers with a knife. The driver was stabbed in the arm during a fight, witnesses said.

Li Fenliang, a passenger who suffered stab wounds to the back, told the China News Service that he saw no one on the bus fight back as people cowered together at the sides of the vehicle. Many of them had been napping when the attack began.

The suspect escaped into a roadside cornfield. Police offered a 100,000 yuan (HK$125,750) reward for his capture.

Of the injured being treated at two hospitals, the oldest was 67 and the youngest was 18; both had suffered severe wounds, China National Radio reported.

Five others are still in critical condition. A 21-year-old woman may be paralysed in the lower limbs as a result of her wounds, it said.

Wang Yuanyuan, the youngest victim being treated, was on her way home after fetching her university admission notification, China News Service quoted her mother as saying.

She handed the blood-soaked notification to her aunt, the first relative to arrive at the scene. She then fell unconscious and has remained in critical condition, her relatives said.