While millions of people around the world celebrated Halloween, many Tokyo train riders had a real-life scare on Sunday when a man dressed as the Joker went on a stabbing spree before starting a fire, injuring 17 (three of them seriously).
The attacker, a 24-year-old man, was wearing the Joker’s trademark bright outfit of a green shirt, blue suit, and purple coat when he boarded the Keio train near the Kokuryo station. Since the attack happened as many were celebrating Halloween events, it did not initially arouse much suspicion.
However, according to NHK (Japan’s public news agency), the suspect began stabbing passengers before pouring a liquid resembling oil from a plastic bottle onto seats and then lighting them on fire.
Video footage from the subway station shows passengers scrambling to escape a many were helped out of subway car windows. Witnesses said this was because the car doors were not open.
According to the Tokyo Fire Department, 17 passengers were injured, including three seriously. Not all of the injuries were from stabbings although they did not provide many further details.
The suspect, identified as a 24-year-old man, was immediately arrested and is currently being investigated on suspicion of attempted murder.
Japanese media reported to ABC that the suspect “told police that he wanted to kill and get a death penalty, and that he used an earlier train stabbing case as an example.”
This is the second knife attack on a Tokyo train in two months. During the Tokyo Olympics, a 36-year-old man stabbed 10 passengers on another Tokyo commuter train, later telling police that he “wanted to attack women who looked happy.” This is at least the second major act of mass violence involving someone dressed as the Joker. In 2012, James Holmes, dressed as the Joker, shot and killed 12 people and wounded 70 others inside a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of The Joker.