Nagano Shooting Suspect Possibly Driven by One-sided Grudge

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Nagano prefectural police officers examine a police car believed to have been shot at by the suspect in Nakano, Nagano Prefecture, on Saturday morning.

Masanori Aoki, who was arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder in Nakano, Nagano Prefecture, is believed to have held a one-sided grudge against two of his alleged victims. Aoki was quoted by the police as saying, “I thought they were saying bad things about me, and I decided to kill them.”

The Nagano prefectural police suspect that Aoki, a 31-year-old farmer living in Ebe in the city, prepared a murder weapon and deliberately targeted the two victims. Aoki is the eldest son of the head of the city assembly.

Aoki barricaded himself inside his house in Nakano in a standoff with police after allegedly killing two male police officers and a woman on Thursday. A fourth victim, also a woman, was confirmed dead Friday morning. Aoki was arrested for allegedly murdering one of the officers on Friday.

The four confirmed dead are Yukie Murakami, 66, and Yasuko Takeuchi, 70, both Ebe residents; and Yoshiki Tamai, 46, and Takuo Ikeuchi, 61, both Nakano Police Station officers.

According to investigators, Murakami and Takeuchi were attacked with a weapon resembling a survival knife, and Tamai and Ikeuchi, who rushed to the scene, were believed to have been shot with a hunting rifle. Murakami and Takeuchi were walking companions, and they often walked around the area every evening, frequently passing by Aoki’s house.

The police believe that Aoki thought Murakami and Takeuchi made fun of him as they chatted with each other and walked past his house, and that Aoki grew to resent them.

The investigators told The Yomiuri Shimbun that Aoki is believed to have waited for the two women to walk past his house and attacked them with a knife at the same time. Based on Aoki’s statements and other evidence, the police believe that he prepared a gun and knife in advance, and that it was a premeditated attack.

According to residents living near the crime scene, Murakami and Takeuchi had once worked at the same home improvement store. They lived on the opposite side of National Highway Route 403 from Aoki, about 700 meters away from his house.