Sunday 16 June 2019

Police officer and security guard killed in attacks near Japanese school

A 21-year-old man was shot and taken into custody following the attacks in Toyama.

Investigators work at a police station in Toyama, northwest of Tokyo (AP)
Investigators work at a police station in Toyama, northwest of Tokyo (AP)

By Mari Yamaguchi

A knife-wielding man has killed an officer in a police station in northern Japan, before taking the man’s gun and fatally shooting a security guard at the entrance to a nearby school.

Toyama prefectural police and said the unidentified male suspect, who walked into the school, was shot by a second policeman and captured after the mid-afternoon attack, when children were still inside the facility.

Police said the man’s motive was not known.

Investigators work at an elementary school after the shooting (AP)

Children were taken to the elementary school gymnasium for safety after being cautioned by police, principal Yoshiaki Iino told reporters. Teachers called police and an ambulance after spotting the suspect in the school yard and the guard lying on the ground.

TV footage showed a number of officers outside the school.

Parents came to pick up their children, with some saying the attacker’s brief intrusion reminded them of a 2001 attack at an Osaka school in which eight children were killed and 15 others, including teachers, were injured.

Public television station NHK and other Japanese media said police said the suspect was 21 years old. He was shot in the stomach.

Prefectural police director Tomohiro Yamada apologised over the incident.

“We regret that the police officer had his gun stolen,” he said.

A knife-wielding man fatally slashed a policeman before using his gun to shoot a security guard (AP)

Japan, known for its relatively low crime rate, has recently experienced a series of apparently random stabbings.

In a case on a bullet train earlier this month, an attacker fatally stabbed a passenger who tried to stop him after two others were injured. In Shizuoka in central Japan, an 18-year-old man was arrested earlier this week for allegedly slashing a boy on his way home from school.

Shootings are rare. In 2016 there were 25 shooting arrests, including nine involving fatalities, compared to more than 130 cases of knifings and illegal knife possession, according to the National Police Agency.

Press Association

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