The suspect in a shooting and stabbing incident that left three people dead in central Japan is now in police custody, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, citing local police early Friday.
Nakano city police received a call Thursday with reports that a “man stabbed a woman,” a city police officer told CNN.
As officers rushed to the scene, the suspect fired something resembling a hunting rifle, wounding four people, before barricading himself inside a building, the officer added.
Among the victims is a woman in her 40s, who was taken to hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Two police officers also died from her injuries, NHK reported. The officers were 46 and 61 years old, according to police.
The suspect initially barricaded himself in a house belonging to Nakano City Council President Masamichi Aoki, who was later revealed to be the suspect’s father, NHK reported, citing Nakano city police.
He was later detained, NHK said.
According to NHK, a witness to the attack said he saw a woman running towards him, pleading for help, followed by a masked man wearing camouflage.
The man, who appeared to be in his 30s and was wielding a knife several dozen centimeters long, stabbed her in the back, NHK reported.
Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan, a country of 125 million people. It has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world due to its extremely strict gun control laws.
However, Japan was rocked by a shooting last year that reverberated around the world.
Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot dead during a campaign speech in Nara in July.
His assassination shocked Japan and the international community, and also raised questions about whether there was enough security to protect him despite Japan’s record as a place of safety.
Obtaining a firearm in Japan is extremely difficult and the suspect in the Abe shooting used a homemade weapon.
In 2022, there were nine firearms incidents in Japan, including the murder of Abe, one less than the previous year, according to the National Police Agency.
Of the nine incidents, six are believed to have been committed by gangs and other groups. In all, four people died and two were injured in the nine incidents.
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