MUAR, July 7 (Bernama) — The hammer-wielding man who held 30 children and four teachers hostage at a kindergarten in Taman Sungai Abong Cemerlang here today succumbed to his injuries at the Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital at 9.15pm.
Johor deputy police chief Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said the 40-year-old man, who was hit on the head by a single shot when the police stormed the kindergarten this afternoon, died at 9.15pm.
“The police, however, is awaiting a post-mortem report to ascertain the cause of his death,” he told reporters at a dialogue with parents of the children at the Muar District Headquarters tonight.
All the 30 children, aged between three and six years, and their four teachers are safe and they were sent to the hospital for a check up. Jalaluddin said the hostage-taker, who lived with his family about 2km from the kindergarten, had no history of mental illness but had two previous drug records in the Muar district in 1995 and Negeri Sembilan in 2000.
On claims that the police were slow in taking action, Jalaluddin said although the police arrived early at the scene, they had to take precautions to avoid the hostage-taker from harming the captives, who were locked in a room on the first floor of the two-storey house.
“The police had to study the suspect’s behaviour and the weapons on him as well as to tire him so that he would not be aggressive.
“The services of a counsellor and family members were also sought to coax him into releasing the captives and surrender,” he said, adding that the police would also hold a dialogue with the kindergarten’s management on safety measures to be taken to avoid recurrence of the event.
Jalaluddin said the kindergarten would be closed for three days to facilitate police investigations.