Japanese police confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Friday May 26 that they had arrested a madman suspected of having killed four people, including two police officers, in a knife and gun attack in a semi-rural area of ​​the department of Nagano (center of the country). The suspect, believed to be in his 30s, had been holed up since Thursday afternoon inside a house with a farm in Nakano, northeast of Nagano city.

A woman, who was injured but could not be rescued, succumbed to her injuries, bringing the death toll to four, the spokesperson added. Thursday afternoon, a first woman had been stabbed in the back by the suspect. The madman then shot and killed two police officers who had just arrived on the scene, before taking refuge in the house which belonged to his father, who would be a local elected official from Nakano, according to the Kyodo News news agency.

Local police said overnight that two women were able to leave the building before the suspect was arrested – one of them was the suspect’s own mother, according to Kyodo.

Very rare intentional homicides

“I was working on a farm when, just after 4 p.m., a woman came running from the road saying ‘help me’ and then she fell,” a witness told state broadcaster NHK. “Behind her was a man in camouflage with a long knife, who stabbed her in the back,” he added. The 72-year-old witness said he then called the emergency services, and neighbors tried to revive the victim by performing cardiac massage, to no avail.

According to NHK citing law enforcement, the madman then fired a shotgun at police who had just arrived on the scene. The police were inside their vehicle and the maniac would have placed his weapon against a window and fired twice.

Voluntary homicides are very rare in Japan, where carrying firearms is highly regulated. But the country was rocked in July 2022 by the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, killed with a homemade firearm while delivering an election speech in Nara, in the west of the country.

In April, a young man was arrested after throwing an improvised explosive device at the incumbent Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, who was traveling to a small fishing port in the department of Wakayama (West). Mr. Kishida escaped unscathed.