A nearly unthinkable killing unfolded on the streets of Taipei, Taiwan, on Monday, when a man beheaded a 4-year-old girl in full view of her mother. It appears to have been a random attack, and the 33-year-old suspect has a history of mental issues, reports the Taipei Times. The victim has been identified only by her surname, Liu, and by her nickname, "Little Lightbulb," or "Little Lantern." She and her mom were on their way to a subway station to meet her grandfather and two siblings for lunch when the attack occurred. The girl was on a bike ahead of her mother, and she was struggling to get up on the sidewalk when the man approached her. The girl's mother assumed he was going to help, but then he began attacking the girl with a cleaver. The mother and bystanders ran to the spot but were unable to pull him away in time.
“I never thought this society was so dangerous,” said the girl's mother. "I will never see her again, and she will never see her brother and sister again.” Police arrested Wang Ching-yu, who had previously sought treatment for mental illness after fights with his family and has drug-related arrests on his record, reports AFP. His father describes the unemployed man as mentally unstable, reports the South China Morning Post. A mob of people confronted Wang as police were escorting him from a local precinct with shouts of "kill him," forcing officers to return him inside. In the wake of the attack, lawmakers promised to consider legislation ensuring the death penalty for those who kill children, or at least life in prison if mental illness is involved.