Sunday 11 December 2016

Nineteen feared dead as knifeman attacks centre for disabled

William Mallard

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

Police officers are seen near a facility for the disabled where at least 19 people were killed and as many as 20 wounded by a knife-wielding man, in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 26, 2016 Picture: Reuters
Police officers are seen near a facility for the disabled where at least 19 people were killed and as many as 20 wounded by a knife-wielding man, in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 26, 2016 Picture: Reuters

Nineteen people were feared dead and 45 injured after an attack by a knife-wielding man at a facility for the disabled in Japan in the early hours of this morning, national broadcaster NHK reported.

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Police in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, about 40km southwest of Tokyo, have arrested Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year-old former employee at the facility, Japanese media reported.

They said staff called police at 2.30am local time (5.30pm Irish time yesterday) with reports of a man armed with a knife on the grounds of the Tsukui Yamayuri-En facility.

The three-hectare facility, established by the local government and nestled on the wooded bank of the Sagami River, cares for people with a wide range of disabilities, NHK said, quoting an unidentified employee.

Asahi Shimbun reported that the suspect was quoted by police as saying: "I want to get rid of the disabled from this world."

Fifteen people were confirmed dead while four were in cardiac arrest, the media reports said. The wounded were taken to at least six hospitals in the western Tokyo area.

Twenty-nine emergency squads responded to the attack, Kyodo reported.

A man identified as the father of a patient in the facility told NHK he learned about the attack on the radio and had received no information from the centre.

Irish Independent

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