BEIJING // A man firing a small automatic weapon burst into a court office in central China today, fatally shooting three judges and wounding three other people before killing himself, an official said. The attacker, later identified as 46-year-old Zhu Jun, head security guard at a post office in Hunan province, apparently told his co-worker he was taking the automatic weapon and two pistols for an inspection by city authorities then headed to the District People's Court, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
He fired the gun after breaking into the office on the fourth floor, killing the three judges and wounding three court staff, said a spokesman of the city's Communist Party propaganda department who would give only his surname, Tang. He said the judges were discussing a case unrelated to the man. Xinhua said Zhu was exacting revenge on the court over a ruling it had made in a property division dispute three years ago between him and his wife, who were going through a divorce.
Zhu, who lived with his elderly parents after the divorce, felt the court's decision was unfair, it said. The judges Zhu attacked were not involved in his earlier case, the report said. Though private gun ownership is virtually banned in China, the country has seen a rise in violent crimes amid the free-market reforms of recent years and a loosening of social controls. Mass violent attacks are typically rare in China but in recent months, the country has witnessed a spate of stabbings and attacks on schoolchildren by attackers wielding knives and in one case, a hammer.
The Harbin Daily reported today that a woman in her 40s attacked nine fellow passengers in sleeper compartments on an overnight train from northeastern Harbin to central Hebei province. The woman used a scrap of iron as her weapon, stabbing victims in their arms and legs around 2am on Monday. The woman, who was not identified, was then arrested by police, the report said. Her oldest victim was a 73-year-old woman.