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18 February 2020

Man arrested after killing 15 and wounding 45 in knife attack at Kanagawa care facility

A 26-year-old man was arrested Tuesday morning after fatally stabbing 15 people and wounding 45 others at a facility for people with disabilities in Kanagawa Prefecture, NHK reported.

The knife-wielding man carried out the attack at Tsukui Yamayuri-en, a facility for the disabled in Sagamihara, shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, local police were quoted as saying.

Kanagawa police said they arrested a man identified as Satoshi Uematsu, 26, when he turned himself in at the Tsukui Police Station at around 3 a.m. and owned up to the attack. He is reportedly being held on initial suspicion of attempted murder. The suspect said he used to work at the facility, the police said.

The number of casualties could rise, as Kyodo News reported 19 people were confirmed as having no signs of life, quoting local firefighters.

Other media reports said at least 15 were killed and four others are showing no signs of life, while 24 others were wounded, including 20 in serious condition.

The motive for the attack was not immediately known, but the suspect has told police, “It would be better if disabled people disappeared,” according to the Asahi Shimbun.

A neighbor of the facility, in a mountain valley area south of Mount Takao, told NHK that a man with blond hair and wearing black clothes was held by police.

The facility provides accommodations and day-care services for people with disabilities, and has a swimming pool, gym and medical clinic.

Kyodo reported that 29 firetrucks were sent to the scene and crews conducted triage operations on-site.

The early morning attack is one of the worst single-perpetrator mass murders in postwar Japan.

In 2001, a man entered an elementary school in the city of Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, stabbed eight children to death and wounded 15 other people. In 2008, a man rammed a truck into a street crowd in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, running people over and then going on a stabbing spree. The indiscriminate attack killed seven and injured 10.

And in 2010, a man set an adult video-viewing shop on fire in the Nanba district in the city of Osaka, killing 16.

Courtesy of Japan Times
Photo Credits: 
Courtesy of KYODO