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September 9, 2009

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Man stabs 2, then sets fire to own home

A LOCAL man has been detained after going on a rampage that left two people, one of them a police officer, in hospital with serious knife wounds and culminated in him setting fire to his own apartment.

The police officer was in critical condition last night, while a neighborhood committee official, also stabbed, was reported to be stable.

The havoc started about 9am in the home of the suspect, surnamed Chen, on Yangshupu Road in Yangpu District.

The unemployed man, in his 40s, could hardly control his temper after detention, according to police who are still unclear of his motive for the attacks or fire.

Some of Chen's neighbors described him as being a loner who often behaved oddly.

The officer, surnamed Shi and the neighborhood committee official, surnamed Xu, were taken to nearby Xinhua Hospital.

Shi lost nearly 1,000 milliliters of blood as a result of six deep wounds, according to doctors.

Witnesses said the officer had been stabbed about three times in the back and suffered a punctured lung.

Xu suffered severe cuts and tendon damage in his arm.

The neighborhood committee official was attacked first when he went to Chen's apartment after complaints from neighbors about his "weird behavior."

The police officer was stabbed after going to investigate that incident.

"Xu ran out of the room with his hand covered in blood," said a witness who lives nearby. "His arm kept bleeding heavily."

The witness said he then he saw the policeman stagger down from Chen's second-floor apartment covered in blood.

The officer collapsed on the street after reporting the attack by phone to his headquarters and calling for backup.

"He was bleeding terribly and blood was streaming out of his mouth," the witness said.

Earlier yesterday morning, Chen poured basins of water out of the window and on his floor, which wet neighbors' clothes hanging downstairs.

Chen locked himself in his room after stabbing the two men, according to police.

A team of riot police came to the scene with firefighters after Shi's call.

Riot police tried to break into Chen's apartment under water-cannon cover.

That's when Chen decided to fight water with fire.'

However, Chen choked on smoke and was caught by police after fleeing his room.

The fire was put out quickly.

Chen lives with his parents in the apartment of about 30 square meters and was divorced from his wife about 10 years ago.

His parents were not present when the attacks happened.

Neighbors said Chen had been "abnormal" especially after his daughter went to live in Japan three years ago.

"He sometimes beats washbasins or walks on the roof at midnight," said Tang Miaozhong, a neighbor.

"He seldom talks to us."

Yangpu District police said Chen had no official history of mental disorders.


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