Three Japanese die after Guam tourist attack

HAGATNA (AFP) - Many of the victims of a frenzied knife attack in the Pacific nation of Guam had been on the island to attend a wedding, it emerged Thursday, as the death toll from the attack rose to three.

Survivors and witnesses told of their horror as a man clutching 30 centimetre-long knives in each hand launched a bloody attack on unsuspecting holidaymakers after ploughing into them with his car.

All 14 victims, including an eight-month-old baby and a three-year-old toddler, were Japanese.

Two women, 29-year-old Rie Sugiyama and her grandmother Kazuko Uehara, 81, were pronounced dead on Wednesday. A third victim, a so-far unidentified 51-year-old man, succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, medics said.

Ms Sugiyama's heartbroken father, who was also in Guam for his son's wedding, told Japan's Kyodo News: "I want my daughter back. This attack deprived me of not only my mother but also my daughter. "Why do we have to encounter a random killer in Guam?"

Media reports in Japan said family members had been out shopping after dinner on Tuesday when a car mounted a pavement and smashed into a convenience store.

The knifeman, a blade in each hand, began repeatedly stabbing Sugiyama as she desperately tried to shield her three-year-old daughter.

The child survived and was operated on at a local hospital, a 72-year-old Japanese woman who lives in Guam and helped the family as a translator, told the Yomiuri newspaper.

Ms Sugiyama's husband was holding an eight-month-old baby, who reportedly suffered a knife wound to the face, but survived.

Ms Uehara began bleeding from the neck after being hit by the car, her son told Kyodo news agency, and was believed to have died at the scene.

The Guam Memorial Hospital said the third person to die was a 51-year-old man but refused to give further details, saying next of kin in Japan were still being notified.

The hospital said six people were discharged on Thursday and one had been transferred to Japan, with four patients still receiving care at the facility.

Local man Chad Ryan Desoto, 21, was charged over the attack on Wednesday.

Prosecutors allege that after he was arrested, Desoto admitted to police that he was intent on using both his car and his knife to hurt as many people as possible.

Desoto's motive for the attack remains unknown.

About 80 per cent of Guam's international visitors are Japanese and they provide a major source of revenue for the economy.

Guam governor Eddie Calvo said the attack was an isolated incident by a lone criminal and Guam was committed to ensuring its visitors were safe.

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