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August 09, 2008

American Killed in Beijing

Results from the first day of competition at the 2008 Olympics are being overshadowed by news that an American was stabbed to death at the Drum Tower in Beijing. The victim was a relative of a U.S. men’s indoor volleyball coach, and the attacker, who later jumped to his death, was a 47-year-old Chinese man. The attack took place this afternoon at a popular tourist site only a few miles from the Olympic Green. I visited the Drum Tower shortly after my arrival in Beijing, and posted about the experience a few weeks ago. Until this afternoon, I always felt safe in Beijing -- guns are strictly forbidden, and violent crime was never a concern. Today’s attack, though tragic, was hopefully an isolated incident.

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With the Drum Tower's second level open to the public, visitors are rewarded with panoramic city views after a long climb up a set of very steep stairs. The attacker jumped over 100 feet to his death from the structure's second level.

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