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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


Guam Police Arrest Suspected Killer After Tumon Attacks
Tamuning man faces multiple murder, assault charges

By Geraldine Castillo

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Feb. 14, 2013) – The suspect in Tuesday night’s stabbing spree in Tumon that left two women dead and several others injured was held on $2 million cash bail during a magistrate hearing at Guam’s Superior Court yesterday.

Chad Ryan DeSoto, 21, of Tamuning was brought to court 15 hours after his arrest.

DeSoto told police that he "intended on hurting as many people with his vehicle initially and subsequently with his knife," court documents stated.

DeSoto allegedly stabbed and struck more than a dozen individuals – comprised mostly of tourists – with his vehicle Tuesday night around 10 p.m. in the Pleasure Island district of Tumon, between SandCastle and The Plaza.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and locked up with handcuffs and chains to his feet, DeSoto appeared before Magistrate Judge Alberto Tolentino, who read the charges against him.

DeSoto was charged with two counts of aggravated murder as a first-degree felony; attempted aggravated murder as a first-degree felony; and eight counts of aggravated assault as a second-degree felony. All charges were attached with a special allegation of possession and use of a deadly weapon.

Small in stature and with his face covered in bruises, DeSoto stoically acknowledged the charges. He was appointed a public defender by the court.

Tuesday night’s atrocities unfolded as police were informed that a man began stabbing people by the SandCastle and Globe area then entered his car and fled. The suspect – later identified as DeSoto – reportedly struck pedestrians as he fled the scene, then drove up the front corner of the Outrigger Guam Resort and rammed into ABC Store just below Hard Rock Caf.

Witnesses at the scene said the suspect jumped out of his car and began stabbing people at random. He was subdued by G4S officers, the property’s security personnel, and then taken into custody by Guam police.

Background check

As the investigation continues, Guam Police Department Chief Fred Bordallo said investigators are not ruling out potential drug involvement. "We are pursuing that (drug implication) because of his erratic behavior during this incident," Bordallo said.

He said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting GPD in determining any possible motive behind the attack.

"We are looking at Mr. DeSoto’s background and his acquaintances. We want to determine his lifestyle and his mental state," Bordallo said.

He said a preliminary background check on DeSoto did not reveal any previous arrests or convictions, nor any record of mental treatment.

Victims

The victims included 13 Japanese tourists and a local resident. Two Japanese women died and the rest were injured in Tuesday night’s episode. Medics transported the victims to Guam Memorial Hospital, Guam Fire Department spokesman Lt. Ed Artero said.

Kazuko Uehara, 81, and Rie Sugiyama, 29, died from the stabbing. Two children – an 8-month-old boy and a 3-year-old – are currently in GMH's Pediatric Unit after sustaining stab wounds. Hospital officials said the children are in stable condition. One adult remained in critical, one was guarded, and two were in stable condition.

Court documents state Rie Sugiyama is the mother of the infant. They were visited by officials led by Gov. Eddie B. Calvo.

[PIR editor’s note: Elsewhere, Japanese authorities have announced the government is "rushing" to learn more details about the attack and have urged Japanese tourists to exercise caution ahead of the spring break travel season. Calvo's message to Japan in response has been that the attack was "an isolated incident... something that just doesn't happen in our community." Local tourism officials echoed Calvo's statement, reassuring visitors that Guam is safe.]

'iHeartGU'

DeSoto starred in locally-produced movie "iHeartGU." He played the main character of Hayden Cooper in the 2011 movie which he helped produce with peers while they were still students at John F. Kennedy High School.

In a character profile of DeSoto posted on a Tumblr blog account of Project: Inspire, the production and film group that produced the movie, DeSoto "gave a riveting performance" in the film. "If not for his subtle yet explosive personality, 'iHeartGU' would not have been as good as it was," they wrote. The official movie trailer had been available on YouTube until it was made private as of late afternoon yesterday.

‘Rough time’

Those who knew DeSoto said he was going through a rough time and was affected by a number of issues in his personal life.

One man who knew DeSoto from middle to high school yesterday spoke of his chilling experience in connection with Tuesday night’s incident.

Just minutes before the stabbings, Miguel Abratique, 23, was working at The Plaza when he began discussing with a friend – and coincidentally also a cast member of "iHeartGU" – how he recently watched the film and was thinking of DeSoto since they had lost touch since high school.

"I was told he was going through a lot ... he seemed troubled," Abratique said of his conversation. DeSoto's friends told Abratique that after the filming of the movie, "[DeSoto] kept getting worse" but he recently was "trying to better himself."

As the conversation continued, Abratique suddenly heard people screaming and pouring into The Plaza and was informed that a stabbing was in action outside.

"I jokingly questioned, ‘What if it was Chad?" he said. "We get a phone call a minute later that it was him."

Torn about the atrocities and the coincidence of his comments, Abratique could not bear to handle work the next day so he was given the day off.

"I feel bad for the guy. What’s done is done; we can’t do anything to change it. I know him, but at the same time, I want to do something to him," he said. "It’s very troubling for me because I’m a friend as well."

Meanwhile, a source who did not want to be identified revealed that DeSoto had been text messaging some friends prior to the incident.

"I know he texted his friends saying he needs someone to talk to, but everyone was either working, sleeping, or didn’t get to read his message," she said. "The next thing, they found out what happened."

DeSoto injured the following six individuals with his vehicle: Katsuko Nohara; Hiromi Nohara; Daisuki Okawachi; John Doe; Jane Doe; Kana Furuyama.

DeSoto injured another eight with a knife: Kazuko Uehara; Rie Sugiyama; Rui Sugiyama; Jane Doe II; R.S (8 months old); Haruka Furuyama; Kaylani Quichocho; Yusuke Sugiyama.

Marianas Variety Guam: www.mvguam.com
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