A 3-year-old boy was seriously injured in a suspected acid attack at a busy store in England on Saturday that authorities believe was deliberate.
West Mercia Police said in a news release the incident took place around 2:15 p.m. at Home Bargains, a discount retail store in Worcester, England.
"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. "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."
Police said the boy was treated at the hospital for serious burns to his arms and face, and was later released. Authorities said the long-term medical implications for the child are unknown, but they hope he will not suffer life-changing injuries.
"It's an awful incident and we're really, really concerned about this," Travis told Sky News.
Authorities said a 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm.
Three others were being sought for questioning Sunday and police released photos to generate public tips. The men had been in the store and were seen walking close to the little boy and left shortly after the assault.
"The three men in the photo may have information vital to our investigation," Travis said
Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss described the attack as "absolutely pure evil," and urged anyone with information to come forward.
"Think if this was a member of your family, an innocent child, a 3-year-old probably scarred or damaged for life by this," he told Sky News. "We need to bring the perpetrators to justice, and quickly."