A 16-year-old student appeared in court in Singapore on Tuesday charged with murdering a fellow teenager in a case which has rocked the normally safe country.
The victim, a 13-year-old, was killed at school after being allegedly attacked with an axe.
The suspect was a fellow student of River Valley High School. According to reports, he brought an axe to school.
The suspect, whose identity has not been revealed since he is a minor, was charged with murder on Tuesday. Police also sought a court order to remand the suspect for psychiatric assessment, reports said. The suspect and the victim did not know each other, according to the police.
The Straits Times reported that the police were alerted at about 11:40 am after which the officials arrived at the scene and found the 13-year-old student motionless with multiple wounds in a toilet.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force paramedic pronounced the teenager dead at the scene of the crime.
The Strait Times also reported that an axe was seized from the suspect as evidence.
The Shin Min Daily News also said some students saw someone holding an axe and standing by a drinking fountain to clean blood, saying: “I just killed someone.”
A parent — a 43-year-old man only identified by his second name Mr Huang — was quoted in The Straits Times saying that he received a text from his daughter at 11:50 am which said there was someone wielding an axe in the school, after which she sent a video of students running in the school compound.
Outside the school gate, at least four police vehicles, a crime scene investigation van and an ambulance were present around 1 pm, usually lunch hour at the school. Staff members told the media that students were asked to remain inside their classrooms and not venture out.
Chan Chun Sing, the Singapore’s education minister, said officials were working closely with the Singapore Police Force in investigating the incident.
“We are all shocked to receive news of the tragic incident at River Valley High School this morning,” he told the media, adding that the safety and well-being of students and staff were of “paramount importance”.
Authorities of the River Valley High School, where the incident took place, said they were deeply saddened by the loss of one of the students and that they will extend their “fullest support to his family”.
River Valley High School, a popular school in Singapore, marks its 65th year this year and was selected as a Special Assistance Plan school in 1979.
The Ministry of Education also said that the “school has also reached out to students, parents and staff to provide counseling support and the necessary assistance to ensure their well-being.”
It also said that “in this hour of grief, we urge the public to accord his family privacy and respect.”
The BBC quoted Singapore’s law and home affairs minister K Shanmugam as saying that preliminary investigations suggested the accused had bought the axe online.
“We all grieve with the parents of the boy who was killed. It’s difficult to even describe the true extent of their grief,” he said.