An 18-year-old assailant armed with a samurai-style sword burst into a daycare center in Brazil on Tuesday, killing three children and two employees, local police said, leaving the small southern town in shock.
The attacker then turned his weapon on himself and struck his own neck, abdomen and torso, said authorities in Saudades, a city of 10,000 people in the state of Santa Catarina.
“He was taken to hospital in critical condition,” police said in a statement.
Officials did not give a motive for the brutal attack, saying the attacker had no criminal record.
“When firefighters arrived at the kindergarten, they saw an extremely brutal scene. There were already children dead, an employee as well,” rescue worker Leonardo Ecco told reporters.
Employee Aline Biazebetti, who was at home near the preschool, described the horror of realizing what was happening inside.
“I heard screams, cries for help. I told my father, ‘Something’s going on in kindergarten. “I went out and saw my colleagues calling for help: ‘Please, call the police, an armed guy came in and killed the children,'” said Biazebetti, 27.
“I managed to call the police. They came out with an injured child, so my father got the car and we took him to the hospital.”
The children’s ages were not released. Local media reported that the center was for children aged six months to two years.
A fourth child received light wounds, police chief Jeronimo Marcal Ferreira told reporters outside the daycare center, where police and rescue workers had cordoned off the area.
A police officer described the attacker’s weapon as “samurai-style” and showed it to the press: a long knife or a short sword wrapped in yellow plastic and sealed in a proof bag.
Governor Daniela Reinehr declared three days of mourning across the state.
The last fatal school attack in Brazil was in March 2019, when two former students shot dead eight people before killing themselves at a high school in the southeastern city of Suzano, near Sao Paulo.