TOKYO (AP) — A knife-wielding man killed an officer in a neighborhood police station in northern Japan on Tuesday, took the man’s gun and fatally shot a security guard at the entrance to a nearby elementary school, police said.
Toyama prefectural police and school officials said the unidentified male suspect, who walked into the school, was shot by a second policeman and captured after the midafternoon attack, when children were still at school. Police said his motive was not known.
Teachers put all the children in the 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, Iino said.
TV video showed many policemen outside the school. Parents came to pick up their children, with some saying the attacker’s brief intrusion into the school reminded them of a 2001 attack at an Osaka school in which eight children were killed and 15 others, including teachers, were injured.
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Public television NHK and other Japanese media said police identified the suspect as 21 years old. He was shot in the stomach and unconscious.
Prefectural police director Tomohiro Yamada apologized in a televised news conference for a gun crime that caused fear in the neighborhood.
“We regret that the police officer had his gun stolen,” Yamada said.
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.
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