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22-Year-Old Man Identified as Suspect in Kindergarten Explosion

By Qi Xiaokong, Shen Fan and Li Rongde
Police say they have identified a 22-year-old man as the suspect in a deadly explosion Thursday near a kindergarten (preschool) in Fengxian county in east China’s Jiangsu province that killed eight people and injured at least 65. Above, police officers examine the entrance to the kindergarten on Friday. Photo: Fan Xi/Caixin
Police say they have identified a 22-year-old man as the suspect in a deadly explosion Thursday near a kindergarten (preschool) in Fengxian county in east China’s Jiangsu province that killed eight people and injured at least 65. Above, police officers examine the entrance to the kindergarten on Friday. Photo: Fan Xi/Caixin

(Fengxian county, Jiangsu province) — Police have identified a 22-year old man as the sole suspect in Thursday’s explosion at a Jiangsu province kindergarten that killed eight and injured 65, state-run China Central Television reported today.

The suspect was also killed in the blast set off with an explosive device he made at his home in Fengxian county. Investigators from China’s Ministry of Public Security in Beijing and local police did not give a motive of the suspect, who was identified only by his surname, Xu.

But the Chinese words for “death,” “demise” and “perish” were found written on walls in his rented home near the Chuangxin Kindergarten in Fengxian county, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

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Xu had been working in Fengxian county after dropping out of school due to a disorder in his nervous system, investigators said.

Fengxian, a rural county in the city of Xuzhou, is located about halfway between Beijing and Shanghai.

A fish vendor working at a wet market several hundred meters from the kindergarten, or preschool, in central Fengxian county told Caixin that she first heard a loud explosion at about 5 p.m. Thursday and then saw a ball of fire more than a dozen meters high in the direction of the kindergarten.

She rushed to the scene along with several other parents and saw “dozens of parents and children lying in pools of blood with their clothes peeled open in front of the school.”

Parents and their children were there to pick up students who were still inside at the time of the explosion, the fish vendor said.

At least 65 were injured, and most of those hospitalized were treated at hospitals inside the county, including Fengxian County People’s Hospital.

Eight people who were critically injured were transferred to other hospitals in Xuzhou, which administers Fengxian’s intensive care cases, according to the city government.

Seven of the eight, including adults and children, were being treated at Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, according to a doctor working at the hospital’s intensive care unit who asked not to be named.

The conditions of four are no longer life-threatening, according to the city government.

The area within 1 km of the kindergarten has been cordoned off, and forensic specialists were seen combing the site for evidence, drone footage viewed by Caixin showed.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (rongdeli@caixin.com)

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