Police were last night questioning a 24-year-old supermarket worker after he ran amok in the aisles of the store with three knives, and stabbed 10 people.
The man, who had just started his shift as a part-time shelf-stacker at the south Birmingham store, was chased from the premises by a security guard and the father of a 13-year-old boy injured in the chaos. But as they confronted the Asian shop assistant near the shop in Bordesley Green, two police officers disarmed him using batons.
Five people, four of them with serious injuries, were last night being detained at two city hospitals after undergoing surgery.
The attack comes almost exactly a year after another man, David Morgan, went on the rampage with a knife in a Birmingham department store, wounding 10 women .
It also follows heightened concern over criminals' use of knives after the murder of Philip Lawrence, the headmaster stabbed to death while going to the aid of a pupil outside his north London school on 8 December.
Outrage over the murder prompted the 43 police forces in England and Wales to declare a month-long amnesty for those surrendering knives to police stations.
It was unclear where yesterday's attacker had obtained his weapons - a four-inch Bowie knife, a Swiss Army knife and a Stanley knife - which were recovered by police as he was seized. Only two of the knives were used in the attack at the Netto supermarket which flared shortly after 12.15pm as the man began packing shelves at the store where he had worked for 10 months.
Chief Inspector Eric Noble, leading the inquiry, said that the violence was sparked by a row between the man and his colleagues, though shoppers became involved.
Moments later the man went berserk, walking through the crowded store with his arms above his head, holding the knives aloft.
Screaming shoppers ran for cover as he walked along the aisles stabbing at people in his path.
One of the victims, Mark Edwards, 15, from King's Heath, Birmingham, speaking from his hospital bed as he recovered from a back wound, told how he had gone into the store with his parents and 9-year-old sister Elizabeth.
"I could hear a commotion and I thought it was a shoplifter," he said. "Everyone started to head towards the exits and then I saw a man running down with two knives in his hands.
"He was just jabbing and stabbing with the knives as he came by. My sister was standing still and he was going towards her. So I grabbed her and just pushed her through the exit. I turned round to go out myself and then felt like I had been punched in the back." Only outside did his father see the blood and drive him to hospital.
In all six men, one aged 65, two women, and two boys of 13 and 15 were injured. A 41-year-old shop assistant with three stab wounds, two to her back and one to her arm, was flown by helicopter to Selly Oak hospital in the city and was said last night to be stable.
The other victims were taken to Heartland's hospital where three were found to have serious injuries. A man of 35 and a woman of forty both had chest wounds, while a man of 65 suffered stomach injuries.Reuse content