19 killed in knife at­tack

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A KNIFE-WIELD­ING former em­ployee killed 19 peo­ple and in­jured 25 at a care cen­tre for the men­tally dis­abled in Ja­pan yes­ter­day, in the coun­try’s worst mass killing in decades.

The 26-year-old man, who re­port­edly threat­ened to kill hun­dreds of dis­abled peo­ple ear­lier this year, later turned him­self in at a po­lice sta­tion, say­ing to of­fi­cers, “I did it.” He re­port­edly also said, “The dis­abled should all dis­ap­pear.”

Au­thor­i­ties iden­ti­fied the at­tacker as Satoshi Ue­matsu and said he had worked at the fa­cil­ity in Sagami­hara, a city of more than 700,000 peo­ple west of Tokyo, un­til Fe­bru­ary.

Broad­caster NTV said the man told po­lice he had been fired and held a grudge against the care cen­tre man­age­ment.

The at­tack be­gan in the early hours of the morn­ing when Mr Ue­matsu al­legedly broke a first-floor win­dow to get into the build­ing. Pub­lic broad­caster NHK re­ported that he tied up one care­giver be­fore start­ing to stab the res­i­dents.

A doctor at one of the hospi­tals where vic­tims were taken said some had “deep stab” wounds to the neck.

“The pa­tients are very shocked men­tally, and they can­not speak now,” the doctor told NHK.

A fleet of am­bu­lances, po­lice cars and fire trucks con­verged on the Tsukui Ya­mayuri-en cen­tre, a low-rise com­plex nes­tled against forested hills, which was cor­doned off and draped with yel­low “Keep Out” tape.

The killing is be­lieved to be the worst such in­ci­dent in Ja­pan since 1938, when a man went on a killing spree armed with an axe, sword and ri­fle, killing 30 peo­ple.

Fire depart­ment spokes­peo­ple said the dead in­cluded nine men and 10 women aged from 18 to 70, and that another 25 peo­ple were wounded, 20 of them se­ri­ously.

“Ue­matsu broke a glass win­dow and in­truded into the fa­cil­ity at 2:10am and stabbed those stay­ing there,” Shinya Sakuma, an of­fi­cial from Kana­gawa pre­fec­ture, told a press con­fer­ence in the pre­fec­ture’s cap­i­tal Yoko­hama.

“When Ue­matsu turned him­self in,

he was found car­ry­ing kitchen knives and other types of knives stained with blood.”

Po­lice said they re­ceived a call from the cen­tre around 2:30am – about 20 min­utes af­ter the as­sault be­gan – re­port­ing that a man armed with knives had en­tered the fa­cil­ity. They said he turned him­self in half an hour later.

Po­lice of­fi­cers guard the main gate to Tsukui Ya­mayuri En, a care cen­tre at Sagami­hara city, where a man claim­ing to be an ex-em­ployee of the fa­cil­ity went on a ram­page with a knife.

Photo: AFP

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