Four killed in shooting in Japan, suspect arrested

TOKYO (Reuters) – Four people have died in a shooting and stabbing in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture and a suspect was identified by Japanese authorities on Friday.

The Nagano Prefecture police said at a press conference during the investigation that the 31-year-old suspect had taken refuge in a house after shooting at two police officers who went to the scene after hearing of a woman being stabbed.

Police Chief Iwao Koyama said both the officers and the woman were taken to a hospital and pronounced dead hours later.

“It is a heinous crime that has caused great fear among the residents of the prefecture and the whole society,” he said.

An elderly woman also seems to have died in the fight. The media said that she was lying on the ground near the house where the maniac had taken refuge and the police could not reach her.

Media said police arrested the suspect at around 4:30 pm (1930 GMT) on Friday, twelve hours after the first call was made to emergency services.

Japanese state broadcaster NHK reported that the suspect is the son of the head of the Nakano city council.

Iwao Koyama said the suspect’s mother and another person managed to escape the house.

The motive of the attack could not be ascertained.

Shootings are very rare in Japan, where the carrying of weapons is subject to strict controls.

(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; French edition by Camille Renaud)

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