Relative of U.S. volleyball coach killed

By Deborah Charles
Saturday, August 9, 2008; 6:38 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man killed a relative of a U.S. men's volleyball coach and injured another family member in a stabbing at a popular tourist spot in Beijing on Saturday.

The dead man was a U.S. citizen and the injured victim was an American woman, police said, adding the attacker jumped to his death after the killing. The murder cast a shadow over the first day of sporting action at the Olympic Games.

"While at the Drum Tower in central Beijing, the two family members were stabbed during an attack by what local law enforcement authorities have indicated was a lone assailant. One of the family members was killed and the other seriously injured," the U.S. Olympic Committee said in a statement.

A Chinese tour guide was also injured in the attack carried out by a Chinese man just after midday. Assaults on foreigners are rare in Beijing, site of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Tang Yongming, 47, from the eastern city of Hangzhou, jumped to his death from the second storey of tourist site the Drum Tower after the attack, police said in a statement.

"We need further investigation to find out the motive since the man has killed himself. We have no more information to provide for the moment," a spokesman for the Beijing Public Security Bureau said.

A White House official said U.S. President George W. Bush, who is in Beijing for the start of the Games, was aware of the attack.

"The President has been informed and his heart goes out to the families of the victims," a White House official said.

"The White House and U.S. Embassy have offered whatever assistance the family needs. U.S. officials have also been in touch with Chinese authorities on the matter."

A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said diplomats had been dispatched to the Beijing hospital where the surviving tourist and the local tour guide had been rushed shortly after noon.

"We're actively following the situation right now and U.S. Embassy officials are already at the hospital," a U.S. embassy spokeswoman said.

Beijing has been calm in the run-up to the Summer Games, with security tight across the capital and thousands of security officials patrolling Games venues and streets.

A crowd had gathered around the Drum Tower, in bustling central Beijing, which had been closed off by police.

The U.S. volleyball team are due to play their opening game against Venezuela on Sunday.

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(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, Guo Shipeng, Jason Subler, Lee Chyen Yee and Edwin Chan; editing by Keith Weir)