Gunman arrested in Japan’s Fujimino as doctor taken hostage dies

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A Japanese gunman was arrested after he allegedly took a doctor hostage and shot him, police said Friday, with local media reporting that the victim had died from his wounds after the 11-hour standoff.

Gun crime is rare in Japan, where the possession of firearms is strictly controlled, and residents reacted with shock to the attack in Fujimino, a city near Tokyo.

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“The man used a hunting rifle to fire at the victim with the intention of killing him,” a local police spokesman told AFP.

He said the 66-year-old suspect had been arrested after the ordeal which played out on Thursday night at his home, during which he reportedly also shot a physiotherapist who is severely injured.

The doctor, the physiotherapist and a third team member were on a condolence visit to the suspect’s home after the death of his mother when the attack took place, Japanese media reports said.

Public broadcaster NHK said the suspect had moved to the area about three years ago and had been caring for his infirm mother alone.

“He said it was difficult for him to join (voluntary activities in the neighborhood) as his mother is sick,” a local resident told NHK.

“He was caring for her... since he moved in. He hasn’t gone out often, so I haven’t had much chance to see him,” the man said.

A 19-year-old student who lives nearby told Kyodo News he had heard the gunshot on Thursday night. “I was scared. I wanted to leave the area quickly,” he said.

The third member of the medical team reportedly rushed to a police station after being pepper-sprayed during the incident.

Police had spoken to the gunman on the phone throughout the night to try and convince him to release the hostage, the reports said.

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