Witnesses Claim GSDF Cadet Was Animated Before Fatal Shooting at Gun Range in Central Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Ground Self-Defense Force’s Hino basic shooting range in Gifu City

An 18-year-old Ground Self-Defense Force cadet suspected of fatally shooting instructors at a gun range in Gifu City on June 14 appeared to be enthusiastic before a live-fire training session, witnesses have said, according to investigative sources.

The incident at the GSDF’s Hino basic firing range left two instructors dead and one wounded.

The suspect allegedly adopted shooting poses outside the facility while he was waiting with other cadets for the training session to start.

The SDF and Gifu prefectural police think the suspect might have planned the crime.

The cadets had been scheduled to take practical tests on the day of the incident. The poses the teen allegedly adopted before the training had nothing to do with the content of the test.

In interviews conducted by the GSDF, witnesses said the suspect appeared to be “animated” and “more enthusiastic than usual.”

During the live-fire training, the teen allegedly loaded his rifle outside the designated area. When an instructor ordered him to stop what he was doing, he shot the man. Then he allegedly walked toward an ammunition storage area where two instructors in charge of ammunition were standing and shot them.

The suspect did not have regular contact with any of the victims. He reportedly told investigators, “I didn’t have a grudge against the three men.”

Investigators think the suspect might have wanted to steal ammunition.