Relative of US Olympic coach murdered in Beijing (Lead)

August 9th, 2008 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 9 (DPA) A relative of a US Olympic volleyball coach was stabbed to death and two other people injured in Beijing Saturday after a Chinese man attacked them and then jumped to his death, US and Chinese sources said. The US Olympic Committee (USOC) said in a statement on its website that “an incident occurred earlier today (Saturday) involving two family members of a coach for the US Olympic men’s indoor volleyball team.”

USOC said the two family members “were stabbed during an attack by what local law enforcement authorities have indicated was a lone assailant”.

“One of the family members was killed and the other seriously injured,” the statement said.

“Our priority in this hour is to attend to the needs of the family members, the US Olympic men’s indoor volleyball team and staff, and the entire US Olympic delegation,” USOC said.

US President George W. Bush said later that he was “saddened by the attack on an American family and their Chinese tour guide today in Beijing.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Bush said in Beijing, where he met US team members on Saturday after attending the Olympic opening ceremony Friday.

“And the United States government has offered to provide any assistance the family needs,” he said.

A 47-year-old man attacked the two US citizens and a Chinese tour guide just after midday on the second floor of Beijing’s historic Drum Tower, leading to the death of one of the Americans, the Chinese government’s official Xinhua agency quoted city officials as saying.

The agency said two women were sent for hospital treatment following the attack.

It said the attacker carried an identity card in the name of Tang Yongming from the eastern city of Hangzhou and had killed himself after the assault by jumping from the tower.

A witness told DPA that he saw a large “bundle of cloth” surrounded by police below the tower.

Police cars and ambulances were at the tower and police officers were rushing around to seal off the area, the witness said.

A blonde-haired woman was sitting in the back of one of the ambulances, he said.

A spokesman for the US embassy said officials were investigating the reports.

“We’re aware of the media reports and we’re working with the Chinese authorities to verify the veracity of the reports,” the spokesman said.

The International Olympic Committee said in a statement that it was “deeply saddened” by the incident on the first day of competition at the Beijing Games.

“The IOC would like to extend sincere condolences to the family and teammates of those involved, and to all members of the US delegation.

“The IOC will provide whatever assistance is required and is in close contact with the US Olympic Committee.

“The IOC is also working closely with the Chinese authorities to obtain information on this incident as soon as possible,” the statement said.

A report on the website of New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ said Chinese authorities were also investigating an attack on one of its sports commentators close to its crew’s Beijing accommodation Friday.

“Steve Robilliard, an Australian ABC commentator working for TVNZ, was returning to the hotel from dinner around 10 p.m. Friday night in Beijing, when he was set upon by a youth who had been urinating against a wall,” TVNZ said.

Robilliard said the man grabbed a broken chair and threw it at him, causing cuts to his wrist and arm.

“While shaken by the incident, Robilliard did not require medical attention,” the report said.

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