Four men have been arrested in England in connection with an apparent acid attack on Saturday, targeting a 3-year-old boy.
Authorities took a 39-year-old suspect into custody on Sunday. The attack took place in at a Home Bargain discount store in Worcester, in western England.
Three other men, ages 22, 25, and 26, were arrested in London on Monday, about 130 miles to the southeast, Sky News reported.
Based on a review of closed circuit footage of the attack, authorities believe it was deliberate.
A three-year-old boy has been injured in an apparent acid attack in Worcester. The incident happened at around 2:15 yesterday afternoon (Saturday) in Home Bargains at Shrub Hill Retail Park. @WMerciaPolice is looking to speak to these men. More here: https://t.co/JwiCg2qxlj pic.twitter.com/SwnFhvZ7Dq
— BBC H and W (@bbchw) July 22, 2018
“At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack on a 3-year-old boy,” West Mercia Police Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“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 boy was in a stroller when the attack took place about 2:15 p.m. Saturday.
Police stated that the boy was treated for serious burns to the arms and face at a local hospital, but was later released.
Sky News did not report a possible motive for the attack, though Travis said it was not believed to be race-related.
Authorities were not able to say if the child will suffer any long-term effects from his injuries.
Robin Walker, a member of Parliament representing Worcester, described the targeting of the young boy as “horrific.”
“The shock will be universal. Anyone conducting such an attack on a small child is just appalling,” he told the BBC.
Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss characterized the strike as “absolutely pure evil.”
CNN reported that the number of acid attacks in London reached an all-time high of 465 last year, up from 395 in 2016.
According to data the network obtained from the London Metropolitan Police, more than 75 percent of suspected attackers and about 60 percent of victims were between the ages of 10 and 29.
Additionally, 71 percent of the attackers and 72 percent of victims were male.
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