Police have lots of questions about the intentional acid attack on a 3-year-old boy that happened in a superstore in Worcester, England Saturday. They have been unable to determine what substance was used and why the child was targeted. The crime took place about 14:15 BST (9:15 a.m. EST) Saturday at a Home Bargains store. The boy is being treated in a hospital for serious burns on his arms and face.
Police have arrested one person they believe is connected to the crime, a 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton. He has been arrested and remains in police custody on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. They also released video from security cameras that shows three men they believe “may have vital information” about what happened according to a report from BBC. They say that anyone who recognizes the men should contact police right away “as a matter of urgency.” Chief Superintendent Mark Travis tried to ease the fears of residents, saying, “The incident will rightly shock the local community and I would like to reassure local people that we are carrying out a thorough investigation to identify those responsible.” The Daily Telegraph reports that Travis said they are treating the crime as a “deliberate attack” on a child.
Police are still searching for the container used in the attack, rummaging through bins and looking around and under cars Sunday for evidence.
Worcester MP Robin Walker called the attack “appalling,” saying, “The shock will be universal. Anyone conducting such an attack on a small child is just appalling. It’s an issue which rightly there has been a lot of concern in Parliament and a move to toughen sentences for any kind of acid attack. But particularly the nature of this being a small child is very concerning indeed.”
Shoppers present at the time of the crime described what happened in its wake. Some described the boy’s attacker as a “skinny white guy.” Twenty-two-year-old Rachel Bryant described seeing “loads” of police and ambulances before she knew what had happened then seeing police comforting a frantic mother. Other shoppers called the attack on the toddler “diabolical.”
Sky News quotes Worcester City Council leader Mark Bliss as describing the attack as “pure evil,” calling Worcester a “quintessential small English city” where such crimes don’t typically happen. He reported not remembering ever hearing of an acid attack in his city before. He encouraged anyone with information related to the incident to contact police.