In Beijing, Parents Of Ex-Player Are Stabbed; One Dies
Sunday, August 10, 2008
BEIJING, Aug. 9 -- A Chinese man stabbed two relatives of a U.S. Olympic coach Saturday, killing a man and severely wounding his wife, as well as injuring their Chinese guide, at a popular tourist site in downtown Beijing, according to government and U.S. Olympic officials.
The attacker then jumped to his death from the second story of the Drum Tower, an ancient structure in the heart of Beijing.
The attack, on the first full day of Olympic competition, occurred despite an overwhelming security presence in the city and marred the Chinese government's efforts to showcase the country as open and welcoming to foreigners.
The victims were Todd and Barbara Bachman, the parents of former U.S. women's volleyball player Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman, the United States Olympic Committee confirmed. Wiz Bachman, a member of the 2004 Olympic team, is married to the coach of the men's volleyball team, Hugh McCutcheon. She was with her parents at the time of the attack but was not injured, the USOC said.
Barbara Bachman was admitted to the intensive care unit at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, a doctor there said.
The women's team was told about the incident at a meeting around 5 p.m. Saturday, five hours before its opening game against Japan, which the Americans won. Many of the players who knew Bachman from previous national teams broke into tears on hearing the news.
"They were the sweetest family ever. They are a really Christian family," a member of the delegation said. "They follow USA volleyball. They would leave little messages for the players. The whole reason they were here is because their life is USA volleyball."
The larger U.S. Olympic delegation was also shaken.
"It is impossible to describe the depth of our sadness and shock in this tragic hour," said USOC Chairman Peter Ueberroth. "Our delegation comes to the Games as a family, and when one member of our family suffers a loss, we all grieve with them."
Officials in Beijing identified the attacker as Tang Yongming, a 47-year-old man from the eastern city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, citing an identification card found on his body.
Local officials did not speculate on the reason behind the attack, which occurred about 12:20 p.m. in an area teeming with tourists. Shopkeepers and others in the area who might have witnessed the attack declined to comment, though one woman said that "there was a lot of blood," which police quickly cleaned up.
Dale Bachman, Todd Bachman's second cousin, told the Associated Press that the three family members and their guide were walking at the tower, with Todd trailing by a few steps, when he was set upon by a man with a knife. Barbara Bachman heard the commotion and returned to help her husband.