Japanese police on Friday detained a suspect who had hidden in a building after allegedly killing four people, including two policemen, in a gun and knife attack, an official told AFP.
The man was detained outside the farm property near the city of Nakano in the Nagano region, and police confirmed a fourth death overnight: an elderly woman who was found injured at the scene and later pronounced dead.
A police spokesman told AFP that the suspect had been detained at around 4:30 am.
It was a rare case of violent crime in Japan, which has a low murder rate and some of the strictest gun laws in the world.
The suspect hid for several hours in the house belonging to his father, the speaker of the Nakano city assembly, the Kyodo news agency said.
He allegedly stabbed his victims with a large knife, before using a hunting rifle to shoot two police officers who responded to emergency calls.
Authorities urged people to stay at home in the semi-rural area of central Japan after the riot began Thursday afternoon.
The slain officers were identified as Yoshiki Tamai, 46, and Takuo Ikeuchi, 61.
Two women, including the suspect’s mother, had escaped from the house where the suspect was hiding, one around 8:35 p.m. and the other shortly after midnight.
– ‘Help me’ –
A witness told public broadcaster NHK that he was working on a nearby farm when “a woman came running from the road saying ‘help me’ and she fell down.”
“Behind her came a man dressed in camouflage and with a large knife, who stabbed her in the back,” said the 72-year-old witness.
He said he called emergency services while neighbors were trying to resuscitate the woman.
NHK, citing police, said the attacker then fired what appeared to be a shotgun at police officers who arrived on the scene.
The officers were inside a patrol car and the attacker placed the gun against a window of the vehicle and fired two shots, NHK reported.
The motive for the attack was not known.
Japan was left reeling in July last year when former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead in broad daylight with an apparently homemade weapon.
Abe’s accused killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, reportedly targeted the politician over his ties to the Unification Church.
And last month, a man was arrested for allegedly throwing a pipe bomb-like explosive at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida while he was campaigning in the western city of Wakayama.
Kishida was unharmed and a man arrested at the scene will undergo a three-month psychiatric examination, a regional court said this week.
The suspect has reportedly kept quiet about the motive for that failed attack.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)