US student turns samurai to slay burglar

(RAW STORY)   A US student on Tuesday killed a recidivist burglar with a samurai sword, slicing off his left hand and severely cutting his neck after he spotted the intruder in his garage, police said.

The undergraduate medical student at Baltimore’s prestigious Johns Hopkins University was being questioned by police but he may not be charged if found to be acting in self-defense. Samurai swords are legal in the United States.

Police received a call for help at 1:20 am (0520 GMT) after the burglar pried open a side-door into the garage of the house, which four students rented off the campus, Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

“They asked him to stop and while they called police, the suspect lunged at the student. He then retaliated by striking him with a samurai sword, severed his left hand and gave severe lacerations to the upper torso,” he said.

The burglar, who was in his late 40s, had a history of burglaries and had just been released from prison on Saturday, he said.

The student, whose name was not released as he was not charged, had recently reported a burglary in which thieves reportedly took laptop computers and a Sony PlayStation video-game machine.

The United States, where the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, has few restrictions on owning swords although some local jurisdictions limit the right to brandish them in public.

“I think everyone has the right to first of all defend themselves and defend their home and if this individual felt that a samurai sword was an appropriate tool to do so, I’m not in a position to say that’s good or bad,” Guglielmi said.

The samurai, Japan’s medieval knights, carried swords as they enforced a code of moral order. Modern Japan, however, requires strict registration of all sizable swords.

England and Wales last year banned the sale of samurai swords except to collectors after a spate of crimes.

Tuesday’s incident was the latest violence involving a top US university. Police on Monday found the body of a 24-year-old Yale University student stuffed in a laboratory wall.

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