In Japan, Masanori Aoki has been taken into custody in connection with a shooting and stabbing incident that resulted in the deaths of four individuals.
A woman was reportedly attacked and two police officers were shot with a hunting rifle in Nagano prefecture. A fourth fatality has been confirmed.
Police have identified Masanori Aoki, a 31-year-old man and son of a local politician, as the suspect in question. Gun violence in Japan remains highly uncommon, even after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July of last year.
Shootings involving multiple police officers are extremely rare, with the last incident occurring over 30 years ago. A woman was reportedly chased and stabbed by a man at approximately 4:25 PM local time on Thursday, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo. Police received a complaint regarding the incident.
According to an eyewitness working in a nearby field who spoke to Kyodo, the first victim of the man was attacked with a blade measuring approximately 30cm (1ft) in length.
The motivation of the individual in question remains unclear. According to the witness, when questioned about the motive behind the stabbing of the victim, the suspect reportedly responded by saying, “I killed her because I wanted to.”
According to reports, Mr. Aoki purportedly donned a camouflage outfit, hat, sunglasses, and mask before allegedly shooting at police officers who had responded to an emergency call. The circumstances surrounding the death of the fourth individual, who was identified as an elderly woman, remain unclear.
After more than 12 hours, Mr. Aoki, his mother, and aunt barricaded themselves inside his father’s home located in a peaceful residential area of Nakano City.
The speaker of Nakano City’s assembly is Masamichi Aoki, who happens to be his father. According to footage obtained from NHK, police vehicles and ambulances were observed in close proximity to the residence.
A 300m (328 yards) exclusion zone was established around the house by police officers who were wearing body armor and carrying shields. According to Japanese media reports, the suspect’s mother and aunt were observed running away from the residence several hours later.
Early on Friday morning, the suspect emerged from the house and was apprehended. According to local media, Mr. Aoki was identified as a grape farmer who also owned a gelato shop in the vicinity.
According to reports, residents were advised to remain indoors through email notifications and announcements made on the local loudspeaker.
Additionally, law enforcement officials were seen going from house to house. Local media has aired footage of gunshots heard on Thursday at approximately 8:00 PM local time (11:00 AM GMT). Several residents were forced to spend the night elsewhere as the local school, which was scheduled to close, caused inconvenience.
Following the arrest, individuals were informed that they could proceed with their business as usual. A man in his fifties informed NHK that an unfortunate incident occurred in his neighborhood. The individual reported being unable to sleep throughout the entire night. Japanese netizens took to Twitter to express their astonishment and outrage at the incident, with one individual describing it as a “unforgivable crime.”
A commenter raised the question of whether the country should prepare for additional attacks of this nature. As per the authorities, the suspect was in possession of a firearm license. In Japan, civilians are only permitted to possess hunting rifles and airguns due to the country’s strict gun ownership regulations.
In Japan, individuals are required to pass rigorous examinations and undergo mental health evaluations in order to purchase firearms. In 1990, there was an incident involving multiple police officers in Okinawa prefecture where two officers were shot by gang members.
The passing of Abe, who held the position of Japan’s prime minister for the longest duration, has left the nation in shock. It is noteworthy that in a country where firearms are prohibited and political aggression is rare, this news has come as a surprise to many.
According to recent statistics, Japan reported a significantly lower number of gun deaths in 2014, with only six fatalities. In contrast, the United States recorded a staggering 33,599 gun-related deaths during the same year.
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