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Gun-wielding man arrested following shooting in Fujimino

At around 8 a.m. (11 p.m. Thursday GMT), about 11 hours after the incident broke out, officers of the Saitama prefectural police department burst into the house and arrested the suspect, Hiroshi Watanabe. (AFP)
At around 8 a.m. (11 p.m. Thursday GMT), about 11 hours after the incident broke out, officers of the Saitama prefectural police department burst into the house and arrested the suspect, Hiroshi Watanabe. (AFP)
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28 Jan 2022 09:01:19 GMT9
28 Jan 2022 09:01:19 GMT9

FUJIMINO: Japanese police arrested a man who fired a gun and took a doctor hostage in a house in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, on suspicion of attempted murder Friday morning.

At around 8 a.m. (11 p.m. Thursday GMT), about 11 hours after the incident broke out, officers of the Saitama prefectural police department burst into the house and arrested the suspect, Hiroshi Watanabe, 66, who is believed to be a resident of this house, police sources said. The gun he wielded is seen to be a hunting rifle.

The hostage, Junichi Suzuki, 44, was apparently shot and was confirmed dead after being taken to hospital.

At around 9:15 p.m. Thursday, the policed received an emergency call from a resident in the neighborhood of the house saying that gunshots were heard. A 41-year-old physical therapist was found lying near the entrance of the house. He was seriously injured, shot in the chest and stomach, but was conscious, according to fire authorities.

After that, another man, aged 32, rushed into a police station nearby, claiming that he got a shot of something like tear gas spray in the face. He was taken to hospital. This man, as well as Suzuki and the physical therapist, were making a condolence visit to the house together when they got involved in the incident.

While taking Suzuki hostage, the suspect spoke with a police officer over the phone but did not make any request.

The house, which stands in a residential area, is located about 2 kilometers southwest of Fujimino Station of Tobu Railway Co.’s  Tojo Line. There is an elementary school in the neighborhood. Nearly 110 people living within a 300-meter radius of the house were evacuated.

Watanabe is seen to have moved to Fujimino with his mother about three years ago.

A 76-year-old woman living nearby said that Watanabe was always looking after his mother and that her death may have been mentally demanding for the suspect.

JIJI Press

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