Japan: Maniac arrested after killing four people

Japanese police on Friday arrested a man suspected of killing four people, including two police officers, in a knife and gun attack in the semi-rural area of ​​Nakano in central Nagano Prefecture.

The 31-year-old farmer is suspected of stabbing a woman with a long knife in a rural area on Thursday afternoon.

According to local media, he allegedly killed two police officers who arrived on the scene with a shotgun, before taking refuge in a large house nearby, which would belong to his father, a Nakano municipal councillor. Sporadic gunfire was heard throughout the night.

Two women, including the suspect’s mother, managed to escape safely from the house surrounded by police, one at around 8:35pm (11:35pm GMT) on Thursday night and the other just after midnight.

Another woman, who was injured without receiving any help, died, taking the death toll to four.

The motive of the alleged killer is currently unknown. A neighbor told Japanese public broadcaster NHK, “He used to grow grapes, he was a quiet person. I really don’t know why he did it.”

Police officers near the house where a quadruple murder suspect took refuge in Nagano, central Japan, May 26, 2023 (JIG PRESS/AFP-STR)

A local police spokesman told AFP they were arrested around 4:30 a.m. Friday (1930 GMT Thursday). He was later taken into custody on charges of murder.

“We pray for the souls of the dead and we express our deepest condolences to the bereaved families,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said during a routine press briefing on Friday.

“A police investigation is underway to shed light on this matter, including its history and background,” Matsuno said.

– “because I wanted to” –

“I was working in a field when after 4:00 pm (Thursday, editor’s note), a woman came running from the road + help me + and then she collapsed,” a 72-year-old witness told NHK said the channel.

On May 25, 2023, two women and two policemen were killed by a madman in Nakano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
On May 25, 2023, two women and two policemen were killed by a madman in Nakano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

“Behind her was a man in camouflage with a long knife who stabbed her in the back,” this witness said, adding that she then called for help while neighbors tried in vain to revive the victim on the ground. .

According to a witness cited by the Kyodo agency, the alleged killer said, “I killed him because I wanted to.”

Shortly afterwards, the suspect allegedly attacked two police officers who had just arrived at the scene, apparently with a firearm. According to NHK, police were inside their vehicle, and the manic put his weapon against a window and fired twice.

Residents in the surrounding, usually very peaceful area with rice fields and agricultural greenhouses, were called upon by local authorities to confine themselves.

Homicides are very rare in Japan, where the carrying of firearms is highly controlled. In this country with a population of 1.25 billion, only four people were killed by bullets in 2022.

But last year Japan was rocked by the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was killed by a homemade firearm while giving an election speech in Nara, in the west of the country.

And last month, a young man was arrested after throwing an improvised explosive device in the direction of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the office, who was traveling to a small fishing port in Wakayama (west) department. Mr. Kishida escaped unhurt.


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