GSDF Cadet Held Over Gun Attack Allegedly Continued to Discharge Weapon while Being Subdued

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The GSDF’s Hino basic firing range is seen in Gifu on Friday.

A Ground Self-Defense Force cadet arrested in connection with a shooting at a firing range in Gifu that left two instructors dead and one seriously injured allegedly continued discharging his weapon when other GSDF members attempted to subdue him, according to sources.

Authorities are investigating the motive behind the attack.

According to the GSDF, Master Sgt. Yasuchika Kikumatsu, 52, was fatally shot in the chest, Sgt. Kosuke Yashiro, 25, was fatally shot in the flank, and Sgt. Yusuke Hara, 25, was shot in the left thigh.

Kikumatsu and Hara were in charge of ammunition management and distribution on the day of the attack at the GSDF’s Hino basic firing range, according to investigative sources.

After receiving live ammunition, the 18-year-old suspect waited in line in front of the shooting position with other cadets.

People who were standing near the suspect at the time claim he put a loaded magazine into the rifle without permission, an action that is typically performed at the shooting position.

Yashiro, who was standing in front of the suspect at the position where cadets were waiting, was the first to be shot. The suspect allegedly shot him when the instructor, who had noticed the teen was loading the rifle, ordered him to stop what he was doing.

The cadet then turned the gun on Kikumatsu before shooting Hara, who was standing next to the older instructor.

The suspect allegedly continued to fire rounds into the wall while he was being subdued.

According to investigative sources, he told the prefectural police he did not intend to kill Yashiro. He reportedly claimed he aimed at the sergeant’s leg but missed.