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Man arrested after four deaths in rare gun-to-knife attack in Japan | Crime News

The suspect was arrested after locking himself in a building following a 12-hour standoff with police.

A 31-year-old man was arrested in rural Japan after four people were killed in a rare gun and knife attack involving a 12-hour standoff with police.

The suspect locked himself in his father’s home near Nakano, northwest of the capital Tokyo, at around 4:30am (19:30GMT) on Friday and was detained on suspicion of murder.

The attack began on Thursday afternoon when a local man working on a farm saw a woman “calling ‘help me’ from the road,” he told state broadcaster NHK.

The 72-year-old witness added: “Behind her was a man in camouflage with a large knife who stabbed her in the back.”

The suspect is accused of shooting and killing two police officers who arrived on the scene after witnesses called emergency services.

The two officers were allegedly shot dead in their car, while the woman was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead within hours.

Another elderly woman also died after the apparent attack. She has been lying on the ground outside her home since Thursday afternoon and police have been unable to access her, the media said.

The rampage in the rural western region is a rare instance of violent crime in Japan, which has a low murder rate and has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.

A view of the two-storey home where the suspect eluded police. A television news crew was filming the building. In front is a field.
The suspect hid in a house in Nakano and faced police for 12 hours [Jiji Press via AFP]

A motive for the killing has yet to emerge, and the suspect has not been formally identified, although several local media reports said he was the son of the Nakano city council chairman.

“We pray for the souls of the deceased and express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families,” Japan’s top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

“Police are investigating to uncover the full extent of the incident, including the development and background of the crime.”

Few other details are known about the attack, including the suspect’s motive.

Nagano prefectural police are scheduled to hold a news conference later on Friday.

Japan was in trouble last July when former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was gunned down during his election campaign.

A man was arrested last month for allegedly throwing a “smoke bomb” at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during an election campaign in the western Japanese city of Wakayama.

Kishida was not injured and a man arrested at the scene will undergo a three-month psychiatric examination, the district court said this week.

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