An 18-year-old attacker armed with a samurai-style sword burst into a daycare center in Brazil Tuesday and killed three children and two staff, local police said, leaving the small southern town in shock. The attacker then turned the weapon on himself, slitting his neck, abdomen, and torso, and is in critical condition in hospital, police added.
Officials did not indicate a motive for the gruesome attack and said the assailant had no criminal record. It is not clear what was behind the attack in the small town of Saudades, in Santa Catarina state. Several dozen children were in the building at the time of the incident and staff tried to hide them, officials said. A fourth child is said to have suffered minor injuries. “When firefighters arrived at the daycare center, they saw an extremely brutal scene. There were already children dead, an employee also,” emergency worker Leonardo Ecco told journalists. The children’s ages were not released. The nursery is located in the centre of Saudades, a town of about 9,000 people, and according to Globo news it cares for children under the age of 3. A policeman described the attacker’s weapon as “samurai-style,” and displayed it to the press: a long knife or short sword wrapped in yellow plastic and sealed in an evidence bag. Governor Daniela Reinehr declared three days of mourning across the state. While there have been deadly attacks in schools before in Brazil, they have mainly targeted older pupils.