Guam – As the island mourns the victims of the tragic events that unfolded in Tumon last night, many are wondering who the suspect, Chad De Soto, is and what could have possibly led him on a deadly rampage.
Chad Ryan De Soto is known in the community as a local actor. He starred in an award winning film, I Heart GU, produced by Project Inspire, which was released in 2011.
Though not a lot is known about his personal life, he’s appeared in a number of films, including some TV commercials locally produced.
Police have accused the 21-year-old man of driving his car into the sidewalk of the Plaza in Tumon, crashing into the ABC store at the Outrigger then jumping out and stabbing anyone in his way with a knife.
What could have driven a young man, so full of promise, to such a horrendous killing spree? Sources say he seemed normal, even attending a Christian Youth Organization a few years back. However, one PNC source says De Soto had been having some issues within his own family.
Project Inspire, the group that produced IHEART GU, released a statement today as the community looks to them for answers, saying that De Soto has not worked with the filmmakers in the last year.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to all who were harmed during the horrific incident last night,” the statement reads. “We grieve with you and are praying for all of you who were directly affected by this tragic event: the victims, their families and friends. Our community mourns together at the tragic loss of life and injury. The actions of Chad DeSoto (the suspect) have caused much damage to our community and the image of our beautiful island. The Chad that we knew was a generous, caring and talented individual; however, he has not worked with us for the past year and we were unaware of his affairs and other activities during his constant absence. We will provide whatever information and assistance we can to the investigators, but for now, we want to say to those who were affected by this that you are all in our prayers.”
Meanwhile, the Guam Department of Education says De Soto graduated from John F. Kennedy last year at the age of 20. We asked deputy superintendent Robert Malay about De Soto and how he performed at the school academically, but Malay says he could not release that information. However, while most students graduate from high school within four school years, or by the time they are 17 or 18, De Soto appears to have been held back.
“The policies in the Guam Department of Education do allow students from the time they enter 9th grade to take up to six years to complete their high school coursework. I don’t know that I could specifically say that he did, but it certainly would indicate that he was probably here more than 4 [years],” Malay says.
JFK school counselors and teachers who knew De Soto were not available for comment, but Malay says a team of support staff was sent to JFK to offer counseling to students and teachers affected by the tragedy. Malay also offered condolences on behalf of the entire education department.
“The Guam Department of Education, straight from the superintendent down to all of our employees, joins the island of Guam as well as the folks from Japan in mourning the tragic events that took place down in Tumon,” says Malay.
One person who was at the scene of the incident last night, Joey Charles, says he observed people who seemed to be friends of De Soto as they were standing among the crowd after the attack took place. Charles was among the bystanders who were ushered into the Outrigger Hotel immediately after De Soto was believed to have attacked innocent bystanders with a knife.
“The one picture that really stands in my mind was when I saw some of the friends of this guy who was in the car and they had found out that it was a blue car that had gone through and apparently they knew the person and they were just completely, completely messed up, you know breaking down into tears,” explains Charles.
Another witness at the scene describes how the suspect appeared as he ran out of his car after crashing it into the ABC Store at the Outrigger.
“After hearing the crash we saw a bunch of people running towards it as to help is the guy, but a couple of seconds afterward we just saw them running back to the road, back to where to where they came from and all we heard were loud screams and we just freaked out,” says Shaine.
“All we see is a guy running with his arm in the air like waving it around and screams … until we hear someone has a knife,” she adds.
Charles, who’s been a resident on Guam for over a year now, offers his perspective on the tragic events that have sent shockwaves throughout the world.
“And you just have to sit back and wonder how could this happen. What over the years has led us to this moment? Not just in this person’s life, but the people that’s around him, the community that’s around him and the island,” says Charles.
Malay adds: “If everybody on the island of Guam were to pull together we will get through this together. It may take some time but if we all work together we will ge through this together.”
READ the release from Officer Balajadia below:
GUAM POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWS
Detectives with criminal investigations arrested this morning;
CHAD RYAN DESOTO, m/21/Chamorro – Palau/Tamuning, for 2 counts Murder, 13 counts Attempted Murder, 13 counts Aggravated Assault.
Additional charges maybe pending.
A J Balajadia
Guam Police Department Spokesperson