Violent shooting and stabbing attack leaves four dead in Japan
A man has been arrested over a violent shooting and stabbing attack in the city of Nakano, Nagano prefecture. The suspect is said to have stabbed a woman, before shooting two policemen dead.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the fourth victim, described as an elderly woman, died.
The attack in central Japan has shocked millions as gun violence remains extremely rare in the country. According to Japanese news agency Kyodo, police were alerted around 16:25 local time about a man who had chased and stabbed a woman.
The suspect had used a blade around 1 foot long, Kyodo cited an eyewitness working in a nearby field as saying. According to local media reports, the alleged assailant is the son of the city assembly’s speaker.
His motive remains unclear. When the witness asked him why he decided to stab the woman, he is said to have replied: “I killed her because I wanted to.” He allegedly fired a hunting rifle to kill two police officers who responded to the emergency.
The suspect, who was reportedly wearing a mask, sunglasses, a hat and a camouflage uniform, is said to have barricaded himself for a number of hours inside the house of his father – Masamichi Aoki – before being taken into custody.
Gun violence is still extremely rare in Japan, despite the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last July. He was Japan’s longest-serving PM and his demise enormously shocked a country where cases of political violence are almost negligible and handguns are banned.
Compared to a whopping 33,599 incidents of gun deaths in the US, there were just six in Japan in 2014.
It isn’t easy to purchase a gun in the Asian country as people are required to undergo a strict examination and mental health tests. Even after the procedure, only air rifles and shotguns are allowed.