Chinese police have identified a suspect in the bombing of a kindergarten in the city of Xuzhou on Thursday. The man, a 22-year-old surnamed Xu, detonated a homemade explosive device just before 5 p.m. local time at the building’s front gate, killing himself and at least seven other people in the process, according to authorities.
“Two people died at the moment of the explosion, six more died of their injuries at the local hospital, and four of the 65 injured remain in critical condition,” NPR’s Rob Schmitz reports, citing a police account.
Local authorities have said no students or teachers at the school were harmed in the blast, though, as Rob notes, “images taken in the aftermath of the blast showed children and adults, their clothing burned, strewn about at the gate of the kindergarten in pools of blood.
The Chinese news outlet Xinhua reports the suspect, whose identity was determined partly through DNA evidence, suffered from “vegetative nervous function disturbances” — or an autonomic nerve disorder, which The Associated Press explains can have symptoms including “depression, anxiety, dizziness, vision problems and problems with basic bodily functions.” The condition caused Xu to take a leave of absence from a school he’d been attending.
In his apartment, police say they discovered materials for explosives and the words “death” and “exterminate” scrawled on the walls.
In the aftermath of the attack, Xinhua reports the country’s Ministry of Education has called for schools to increase security procedures on their campuses.