Four kids are dead and five are hurt — one with serious injuries — after a man carrying an axlike weapon attacked a day care center in southern Brazil early Wednesday, authorities said.
Three boys and one girl died in the attack: Bernardo Cunha Machado, 5; Bernardo Pabest da Cunha, 4; Enzo Marchesin Barbosa, 4, and Larissa Maia Told, 7.
The assailant, who didn’t seem to have any connection to the school, turned himself in after the attack, local authorities said.
The incident happened in the city of Blumenau in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, about 370 miles south of Sao Paulo. There were about 40 children in the care center at the time of the attack.
Police say a 25-year-old man from the neighboring state of Parana arrived on a motorcycle and jumped over the school’s wall. He then started randomly attacking the kids, who were in the school’s playground.
“When he saw that the teachers were defending the kids, he jumped over the wall again and left,” Marcio Alberto Filippi, of Blumenau’s military police, told CNN Brazil.
The suspect, whose name has not been revealed, then walked to a police station and turned himself in, authorities said.
Ulisses Gabriel, the head of the state police, told reporters authorities are now looking into whether anyone else is involved, as well as how the suspect planned the attack.
He will be charged with murder and attempted murder, Gabriel said.
Santa Catarina Gov. Jorginho Mello confirmed the fatalities in a statement.
“It is with immense sadness that I received the terrible news that the Cantinho Bom Pastor [Little Corner of the Good Shepherd] preschool in Blumenau was invaded by a murderer who attacked children and employees. Unfortunately, four were killed,” Mello said.
He said he would declare a 30-day mourning period.
Blumenau Mayor Mario Hildebrandt said classes in the city were canceled Wednesday and Thursday.
The president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, took to social media to denounce the “absurd act of hatred and cowardliness.”
“There is no greater pain than that of a family that loses its children or grandchildren, even more so in an act of violence against innocent and defenseless children,” Lula tweeted. “My condolences and prayers to the families of the victims and the community of Blumenau in the face of the monstrosity that occurred at the Bom Pastor day care center.”
Nearly two years ago, a teenager carrying a machete stormed into another nursery in Santa Catarina, killing three young children and two adults. Two girls — both younger than 2 — and one teacher died at the scene. One other child and an employee died at the hospital.
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