- CRIME ＆ COURTS
Nagano Attack Suspect ‘Attempted Suicide’ During Police Standoff
20:00 JST, May 29, 2023
NAKANO, Nagano Prefecture — The man arrested in connection with a shooting and knife attack Thursday that left four people dead in Nakano, Nagano Prefecture, said he attacked the two female victims because he thought they were making fun of him, according to sources.
During a standoff with police after the attack, the 31-year-old suspect allegedly told his mother he thought the women were “mocking him for being a loner.”
The suspect’s 57-year-old mother, who was with her son at the family home during the police standoff, also said her son had tried to commit suicide with a hunting gun after the attack.
Masanori Aoki is suspected of fatally stabbing Yukie Murakami, 66, and Yasuko Takeuchi, 70, of Nakano, on Thursday afternoon, when they were walking near Aoki’s home.
According to sources, Aoki allegedly carried Takeuchi’s body into the backyard of his house, which is near the scene of the attack. Police believe he might have been trying to hide her body.
Authorities suspect Aoki did not personally know Murakami or Takeuchi, but they believe he had developed a groundless grudge against them.
After the knife attack, Aoki is suspected of fatally shooting two police officers who were responding to reports of an emergency: police Lt. Yoshiki Tamai, 46, and police Sgt. Takuo Ikeuchi, 61, of Nakano Police Station’s regional division.
Police are investigating the possibility Aoki used shotgun slugs, which are typically used to hunt large game. Two shell casings were found near a police patrol car.
Aoki’s mother and 60-year-old aunt were in the family home with him during the subsequent 12-hour police standoff. They were not held in the house against their will, the mother told police, according to an investigative source.
Aoki’s mother allegedly tried to persuade her son to surrender but he refused, saying he feared the death penalty. His mother told police her son said, “You don’t die instantly when you are hanged. I don’t want to die that way.”
Two gunshots heard at around 8:00 p.m. on Thursday during the standoff were Aoki’s failed attempt to commit suicide in the backyard, according to his mother.
At around 8:30 p.m., his mother said she managed to get the hunting gun from Aoki by offering to “help him kill himself,” after which she fled the house with the gun and informed the police of the situation.
At dawn, Aoki allegedly called his father, Masamichi, saying he did not know what to do.
Masamichi resigned his post after the attack.
Masamichi, 57, told his son he had no choice but to hand himself over to the police. Shortly after the call ended, Aoki walked out of his house and surrendered at 4:37 a.m.
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