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Two dead after man drives into crowd of tourists on Guam, then attacks with knife

KUAM-TV

Chad Ryan Desoto, 21, was held on $2 million bail on multiple murder and assault charges in the attack Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Two Japanese women were killed and 12 other people were injured when a man drove his car into a crowd in the center of Guam's tourist district and then began stabbing people at random, police said.

Court documents allege that Chad Ryan Desoto, 21, of Tamuning told police that he was intent on "hurting as many people with his vehicle initially and subsequently with his knife" in the attack late Tuesday in Tumong Bay — a major tourist attraction on the west coast of the Pacific island, which is a U.S. territory.


Desoto was held on $2 million bail Wednesday after a hearing on two counts of aggravated murder and nine other felony charges. 

All of the 14 victims but one were believed to be Japanese tourists, NBC station KUAM reported. The other was a young woman who was a high school classmate of Desoto's, police said.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry identified the dead as Rie Sugiyama, 29, and Kazuko Uehara, 81, who were stabbed. Other stabbing victims included an 8-month-old Japanese boy. 

Court documents allege that Desoto plowed through the crowd onto a sidewalk before he crashed into a store in the same complex as the famous beachside Outrigger Guam Resort. He then got out and began stabbing people randomly, authorities said in the documents.

Witnesses described a surreal scene like something in an action movie.


A.J. Smith, a Tamuning ophthalmologist, told The Pacific Daily News that about 30 seconds after the car crashed into the store, the driver jumped out with two or three knives and attacked the crowd.

"Everybody that was in the immediate area froze. Those of us farther back, we ran," Smith said. "We were so freaked out."

Kevin Quinata, who had just reported for work at the resort hotel, told KUAM: "There was blood already all over the people, so I ran and got some towels and ran back out. By the time I came back out, they had already subdued him, and it was ugly."

Guam Memorial Hospital cleared its emergency room for the influx of patients and put out a call for supplies Tuesday night, Joseph Verga, the hospital's chief executive, told KUAM. Japanese translators were brought in to help doctors communicate with the patients.

The Guam Visitors Bureau called an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the potential impact to Guam's tourist industry, which generates $1.35 billion a year, making it the island's largest source of non-government revenue, according to the latest figures from the Guam Economic Development Authority.

"It's particularly hard-hitting because Guam is actually well-known as perhaps the safest destination in the entire region," Mark Baldyga, chairman of the visitors bureau, told reporters Wednesday.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo also sought to allay safety concerns, telling reporters that he had been in communication with the Japanese consulate and issuing a statement that said, "Guam values its long-term relationship with the Japanese people and we promise you that we are committed to ensuring the safety of all visitors."

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