BEIJING, AP – A man armed with homemade guns opened fire at a primary school in eastern China, injuring 16 students before escaping, a state news agency said Thursday. No deaths were reported.
Police launched a manhunt for the attacker through a mountainous area of Guangde County in Anhui province following the attack Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Seven students were hospitalized with severe wounds following the attack at the Niutoushan Primary School; nine others suffered less serious injuries, the report said.
A man who answered the phone at the county police headquarters and wouldn”t give his name said the attacker was still at large but said he had no other information. A teacher who answered the phone at the school said the man was an ex-convict who lived in the town.
"This person had no personal connection to the school or teachers. I think he did it for revenge against society," said the teacher, who refused to give her name.
The most seriously injured students suffered wounds to their arms, legs and heads, the teacher said. She said one student suffered a damaged lung and two teachers were slightly injured as they rushed to get children indoors during the attack.
China has suffered a series of attacks in schools over the past two years, usually involving knives and often blamed on personal grudges or people with mental problems. The attacks have killed a total of at least three children and left dozens injured.
The central government responded by ordering schools throughout the country to hire guards and take other steps to tighten security.
In the attack Wednesday, the middle-aged man opened fire at about 8:15 a.m. as children were exercising at the school, Xinhua said, citing a teacher identified only by the surname Chen.
It said a cable television company employee working nearby ran to the school after hearing the shots and was struck in the head by the man with a gun as he escaped.