'Joker'-Costumed Passenger Sends Tokyo Commuters Escaping Out of Train Windows in Stabbing

A 24-year-old man wearing a Joker costume allegedly stabbed at least one person before starting a fire on a train in the Tokyo area Sunday night, according to local media.

One man suffered critical injuries and 16 others were injured during the Halloween-night attack, NHK, a Japanese broadcasting corporation, reported.

According to reports, Kyota Hattori, the alleged attacker, was riding a Keio Line train headed to Shinjuku. The attack allegedly occurred when the train approached Kokuryo Station in Chofu City, located just west of downtown Tokyo, just before 8 p.m. local time, according to NHK.

Hattori allegedly took out a knife from his bag and stabbed the 72-year-old passenger sitting next to him. He then allegedly went through other train carriages and used cigarette lighter oil to start a fire, NHK reported.

When police arrived, they reportedly found Hattori sitting on a seat, smoking a cigarette and holding a knife, the broadcaster reported. Police said he cooperated when they asked him to drop the weapon.

He was arrested at the scene and is being investigated for attempted murder, according to NHK.

Hattori allegedly told police he wanted to get the death penalty and thought he would get it if he killed at least two people, NHK reported. He picked Halloween because he knew there would be a lot of passengers on the train.

He also reportedly told police that he admired the Batman villain Joker.

Shunsuke Kimura, a passenger who witnessed the alleged attack, told NHK that he saw several people running from the back of the carriages.

"I wondered what was happening. Then I heard a sound – 'pong' – and saw fire and smoke," Kimura said.

Kimura said he tried to run to the front of the train, but the doors did not open. He said he jumped out of the train through a window, injuring his shoulder, according to NHK. Many other passengers also escaped the train through the windows.

"I had no idea what was happening," Kimura said. "It was horrific."

"The man slowly walked towards me," another witness was reported as saying. "At first, I thought it was some kind of Halloween event. But when I saw people running, I realized something bad was happening. A man was holding a long knife. There was blood on the blade."

Another witness described reportedly seeing Hattori spraying liquid from a plastic bottle, noting that a "strong smell" filled the car and that everybody panicked.

"The man's face was expressionless," the witness told NHK.

This is the second knife attack on a Tokyo train in the past few months.

In August, a 36-year-old man allegedly stabbed 10 passengers on a commuter train, the Associated Press reported. He allegedly wanted to attack women who looked happy.

Tokyo Train Attack
A man disguised as Batman villain the Joker is accused of injuring 17 people during an attack on a Tokyo train, pictured above, Sunday. KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images