Two groups of students said they saw the River Valley High School murderer wielding his axe outside a toilet where he slayed a younger classmate, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said today in Parliament.
Chan, who was giving updates about last week’s shocking campus slaughter, recounted how other students met the killer toward the end of their July 19 lunch break. Students reported him to a teacher after the armed student told them to call the police.
“The teacher who first arrived at the scene instructed the 16-year-old to put down the axe,” Chan said during his ministerial statement, adding that the boy complied and was later escorted to a meeting room before the police took him around 10 minutes later.
A 16-year-old student was taken into custody and charged with murder a day later. He was sent for psychiatric evaluation and had a history of mental health issues.
The 13-year-old victim was found lying motionless with multiple wounds in the toilet. The victim and his alleged killer did not know each other, according to the preliminary police investigation. Neither has been publicly identified.
A separate group of students who said they came across the 16-year-old suspect at the toilet said he also told them to contact the police, Chan added.
Some students were also questioned by police, Chan said, adding that parental consent had been obtained and that teachers accompanied the students. He did not mention the number of students questioned.
Trauma counselors were deployed to the school the next day, Chan said. A total of 540 teachers and students have since sought support. Mental health care professionals remain stationed at the school for others who might need help.
“No amount of words can describe our shock and grief,” Chan said at the start of his statement, adding: “On behalf of MOE, we would like to express our deepest condolences to the family for their unimaginable loss.”