Residents of Shanghai's Fengxian district overpowered a knife-wielding man on Wednesday afternoon after he slashed 12 passers-by, six of them children, media in the city reported yesterday. The man had earlier killed two female relatives.
Xia Yongxin, 43, told the Oriental Morning Post he saw the man slashing pupils and parents when he drove near the school gate to pick up his own child and he then chased after the man.
"I picked up a shovel to bash him and he fought back with the knife," Xia said. "He was very forceful. I bashed him several times and the shovel even broke, but he was fine and kept running."
When Xia stopped for a rest after running hundreds of metres, the man returned and started to stab him.
Xia fought back with the handle of the shovel but was still stabbed several times. Several other people overpowered the suspect before police arrived.
Asked whether he was scared when he got out of his car to chase the man, Xia said: "I didn't think much other than stop him from slashing people. School was over and there were so many pupils there."
Xia sustained head injuries but was not in critical condition.
Six of the injured were pupils at the Jinhui Primary School, just a few hundred metres from the residential building where the two women killed by the man had lived.
A nine-year-old boy had to stay in intensive care with a fractured skull and internal bleeding, while one adult with an injured hand was released from hospital on Wednesday night.
Police were trying to verify a claim by the suspect's family that the 37-year-old from Jiangsu had a history of mental illness. Neighbours said the man was an ex-convict who had spent 16 years in jail before being released two years ago.
The man, who arrived in Fengxian on Tuesday, killed his sister and her mother-in-law around 4pm on Wednesday after they refused to lend him money.
Witnesses said the man came out of their building, carrying a blood-stained knife, and entered a crowd on the street, slashing at anyone who came near. He was heard yelling "I slash anyone to death who comes near".
Three eight-year-old boys were walking together when the man came straight at them, yelling "I'll slash anyone who comes near me to death". They ran away but one was slashed several times on the head.