A 25-year-old attacker broke into a preschool in southern Brazil on Wednesday and killed four children with a knife before turning himself in to police, authorities said.
Police and Santa Catarina state government officials said that the man had also injured four victims at the private preschool, known as the Good Shepherd Center, in the morning attack in the town of Blumenau.
He later turned himself in at a state police station and was arrested, police said in a statement.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned the attack as a “monstrosity”.
“There is no greater pain than that of a family that loses children or grandchildren, even more so when it is in an act of violence against innocent and defenseless children,” he wrote on Twitter.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.”
Images from the scene published on the Brazilian news site G1 They showed emergency workers and police outside the preschool, while dozens of people waited behind a security cordon.
An officer urged the crowd to calm down and said only parents were allowed inside.
A state government source confirmed to AFP that the four victims were children.
The three boys and one girl were between five and seven years old.reported G1.
The weapon used looked like an axe, according to Brazilian media.
three days of mourning
The governor of Santa Catarina, Jorginho Mello, declared three days of mourning in the state for the “terrible” attack.
Violence in schools has been on the rise in Brazil in recent years. Last week, a 13-year-old boy killed a teacher in a knife attack at a Sao Paulo school.
In November, a 16-year-old attacker killed four people and injured more than 10 in two twin attacks in two schools in the city of Aracruz, in the state of Espirito Santo, in the southeast of the country.
The nation’s deadliest school shooting left 12 children killed in 2011when a man opened fire at his former elementary school in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Realengo, and then killed himself.
There have also been a number of cases of deadly violence in preschools.
In 2017, a guard of a preschool in the city of Janaubain the south-east of the country, doused himself and a group of children with alcohol and set them on fire, killing nine children and a teacher and injuring around 40.
Authorities said the man, who also died, suffered from “mental problems.”
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 took place.