A young man in his 30s armed with two shotguns, a cleaver and a torch allegedly hunted down his family on Saturday, killing 12, in a village shrouded in mountains in central China's Hunan province.
Villagers carry one of the 12 victims allegedly murdered by Liu Aibing in a remote mountain village in Anhua county of Central China's Hunan province on Saturday. Liu, 34, was captured early yesterday in a manhunt that involved 1,000 police.
Liu Aibing, 34, a villager from the town of Gaoming, Anhua county, in the province's city of Yiyang, was arrested early yesterday morning nearly six km away after his rampage took the lives of his father, uncles and cousins. Two other relatives are in critical condition and at least six homes have been razed to ashes.
The critically injured are being treated in a local hospital, police said.
According to Xinhua News Agency yesterday, Liu had been diagnosed with mental illness. Several relatives of the victims, however, reject the claim that Liu was mentally ill.
"His family doesn't have a history of suffering from mental illnesses," a villager told Xinhua, who did not want to be named. "And Liu behaves normally."
The violent killing spree is the latest within a month by suspects allegedly suffering from mental problems.
Man arrested after village massacre Killings highlight mental health challenges
Man arrested after village massacre Suspect captured after killing 12 in Hunan
On Nov 16, a 21-year-old man reportedly suffering from schizophrenia in the southwestern province of Yunnan murdered six members of his family, including his parents.
On Nov 28, a depressed villager from near Huhhot in Inner Mongolia killed himself after being suspected of stabbing six to death two days earlier.
Saturday's killings began early in the morning, after Liu had spent the night at his uncle's home in the destitute village of Yinshanpai.
Liu, who was said to have had a fierce quarrel with his uncle a month earlier, first allegedly shot his uncle dead using a coarsely handmade shotgun. According to Xinhua, Liu thought his uncle was taking advantage of his father's timber and bamboo business.
Liu later opened fire on the family of three of another uncle and set their home ablaze, police said. The blaze quickly spread among the timber homes and nearby trees.
Awakened by the fire, 60-year-old Liu Jiesu tried to put the blaze out with the help of several of his relatives. But Liu Aibing reportedly shot two dead and slashed Liu Jiesu with a cleaver before the elderly man somehow managed to escape.
"He (Liu Aibing) carried two shotguns on his back and tried to kill anyone he saw, " Xinhua quoted one villager as saying.
Liu then turned to two of his cousins' homes, killed both families, five people altogether, and burned down their houses.
The alleged murderer concluded the bloody spree by setting fire to another uncle's home, killing his father Liu Bifang living inside.
Police have not confirmed the slayings, but they said that those killed ranged in age from 6 to 86 and all were Liu's relatives.
After the bloodshed, Liu fled more than 5 km to the nearby village of Wutong in the Qingtang township.
He was captured just before 7 am in a hill in Qingtang following a manhunt involving about 1,000 police.