February 13, 2013 in Nation/World

Attack on tourists in Guam kills 2 Japanese, injures 12

Audrey Mcavoy Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Chad Ryan Desoto, 21, of Tamuning, Guam, is shown in police custody on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

A man accused of killing two Japanese visitors and injuring a dozen others after crashing his car and stabbing people in a major tourist district in Guam has been arrested and faces multiple charges, police said today.

Chad Ryan DeSoto, 21, of Tamuning, is accused of driving a Toyota Yaris onto a sidewalk and striking seven tourists Tuesday night at an upscale shopping area fronting the Outrigger Guam Resort in Tumon Bay, Guam police spokesman A.J. Balajadia said. DeSoto continued driving on the sidewalk, crashing into the wall of a convenience store. He then left his car and started stabbing people, police said.

DeSoto is charged with two counts of murder, 13 counts of attempted murder and 13 counts of aggravated assault, Balajadia said. No motive or other details on the investigation were released.

Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said 14 Japanese tourists were attacked, including two who died. Two of the injured have been released from a hospital after being treated, Suga said.

Japanese media reported the dead were two women aged 28 and 82 and the survivors included an 8-month-old baby.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo issued a statement addressed to “the people of Japan” saying the perpetrator would be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.” Calvo said he is committed to ensuring the safety of visitors to Guam and would increase the police presence in the visitor district.

“This was an isolated incident – something that just doesn’t happen in our community,” Calvo said. “We are shocked, we are grieving with the families, and we extend our deepest condolences to those hurt.”

Guam, a U.S. territory and tropical island just 1,500 miles or three hours south of Tokyo by airplane, is heavily dependent on tourism – particularly from Japan – for its economy. It’s well-known for scuba diving, white beaches and historic World War II battle sites.

Japanese accounted for 73 percent of the 1.1 million visitors to Guam in the 2011 fiscal year, according to Guam Visitors Bureau data.

Guam, which has a population of about 180,000 and is just 30 miles long, is home to major U.S. naval and air bases.

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