Four children killed and four injured in axe attack at preschool in Brazil



​A 25-year-old man armed with a small axe attacked a preschool in Brazil, leaving four children dead before turning himself over to the police. The attack took place at the Cantinho do Bom Pastor, a private preschool in the city of Blumenau in the state of Santa Catarina. The attacker, who jumped a wall to get inside, also wounded four other children.

The attacker rode a motorcycle to a state police station and handed himself in after committing the heinous crime. The authorities have identified him as a Santa Catarina resident with at least four prior arrests, including for stabbing his stepfather. The police chief, Ulisses Gabriel, stated that he acted alone and that there was no coordinated attack.

As the news of the incident spread, dozens of people gathered outside the preschool, which was surrounded by a security cordon set up by emergency workers and police, and only parents were allowed inside.

A grief-stricken father of five-year-old Bernardo, who was killed in the attack, was one of the parents waiting outside. He told reporters that his son and a friend were hopping like bunnies when he left them at school. “I just thank God for every moment I spent with my son,” Bridi said through tears.

“Thank God my daughter was not among the victims,” another father told reporters. “She is fine physically, but emotionally destroyed. How am I going to get this out of her head?” he added.

The Brazilian media published images of small bodies covered in white sheets on the preschool’s playground. A video showed a crying mother leaving the building while carrying her son, who survived the attack.

Andre Nazario, whose wife works at the school, spoke to his wife, who described the horrific scene on the playground.

“She said that after the guy left, she went to the playground and saw the (victims). She tried to do CPR on one of them, apparently, but it didn’t work. She was in a state of shock,” Andre told journalists.

According to emergency official Diogo de Souza Clarindo, the attacker mainly targeted the victims’ heads. The victims were three boys and one girl aged between five and seven. Two girls, both aged five and two boys, aged three and five, were wounded and admitted to the hospital for treatment. They are reported to be in stable condition.

The authorities have canceled school and Easter Sunday celebrations in Blumenau, a city of about 360,000 people, and declared 30 days of mourning.

Increasing school attacks

Brazil has seen an increase in violent school attacks in recent years.

Last week, a 13-year-old boy killed a teacher in a knife attack at a school in Sao Paulo.

In 2021, an 18-year-old man killed three young children and two employees in a knife attack on a preschool in the town of Saudades, Santa Catarina, the same state where Wednesday’s attack occurred.

Back in 2017, a security guard working at a preschool located in Janauba, a southeastern town in Brazil, poured alcohol on a group of children and set them and himself on fire. The attack led to the death of nine children and a teacher, while about 40 others were left wounded. According to authorities, the perpetrator, who also died in the incident, had been suffering from mental health issues.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned Wednesday’s attack, writing on Twitter that “there is no greater pain than a family that loses children or grandchildren, even more so when it is in an act of violence against innocent and defenseless children. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and the community of Blumenau in the face of this monstrous attack.”


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