Gunman surrenders, ending 29-hour standoff in Nagakute

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

NAGOYA — A former gangster surrendered Friday night after going on a shooting rampage that left one policeman dead, one injured and two of his family in the hospital, ending a tense, 29-hour standoff that terrorized the residential community of Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture.

Hisato Obayashi, 50, who had holed up in his home after taking his ex-wife hostage, emerged with his hands up and was taken into custody at 8:48 p.m.

Obayashi’s shooting spree began shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, when he shot his son, daughter and a policemen who was called to the scene. Another officer was shot while rescuing the first one and died early Friday.

His surrender came hours after the ex-wife escaped on her own. After being held for nearly 23 hours, Michiko Mori, 50, escaped through a bathroom window just before 3 p.m. while Obayashi was on the telephone.

Media coverage showed Mori escaping from the house and collapsing in the street, where an officer hoisted her on his back and carried her to safety as other officers protected them with shields. Police said she had bruises on her face, but no serious injuries.

Obayashi emerged from the house at around 8:30 p.m. after the police urged him through a loudspeaker to surrender, saying, “We want to place you in custody safely.”

The man was holding a plastic bottle and a vinyl bag containing liquid. He did not have his gun and kept his hands up.

He was then seized by more than a dozen officers and was later taken to the Aichi police station.

Obayashi has been identified as a former member of a gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate. He reportedly left the gang in 1993 before moving into the house in Nagakute, which hosted the World Expo in 2005.

Mori reportedly told police in November 2005 that Obayashi was acting violently toward her. Neighbors told the media that they had occasionally heard angry shouts come from the house.

A court issued a restraining order against Obayashi before the couple divorced last year.

According to police, Obayashi was believed to be taking tranquilizers but started acting violently Thursday afternoon while discussing reconciliation with his ex-wife at the house.

That prompted one of the family to call the police and say: “My father is acting violently with a gun in his hand.”

Soon after, Sgt. Akifumi Kimoto and his partner rushed to the house. Obayashi shot the son, daughter and Kimoto before taking Mori captive, police said. Kimoto was shot in the neck and had to wait five hours in front of the house to be rescued due to threats from Obayashi. But riot police officer Kazuho Hayashi, 23, was shot Thursday night while rescuing him and died shortly after midnight Friday.

Risa, the 21-year-old daughter who was shot, talked with Mori, her mother, by phone Friday morning to confirm she was safe, according to police. She also talked with Obayashi, who appeared to be calmer than the previous day, police said.

Obayashi and Mori divorced in May 2006 but continued living together with Risa and his son Kento, who was also shot. Risa and Kento fled the house after being shot and are not in life-threatening condition.

As the standoff entered the second day, a 50-member team headed by the Aichi Prefectural Police chief analyzed the situation at its headquarters while a 170-member team surrounded the house. As the situation intensified, police expanded the cordoned-off area around the house to 300 meters.

The Nagakute school board closed all municipal elementary and junior high schools and kindergartens.

Hayashi, shot in the left side of his chest near the collarbone, was the first officer from Japan’s elite Special Assault Team to be killed in the line of duty, police said. Eight prefectural police forces have SATs, which handle hijackings and hostage crises. Hayashi was a member of the Aichi SAT.

Hayashi joined the police force in April 2002 and the special assault team in October 2005. He is survived by his 24-year-old wife and their 10-month-old daughter.

Hayashi was hiding behind a vehicle and wearing a bulletproof vest but got hit in the left side of the chest, near his collar bone.

Kimoto was also shot in the neck, but was rescued at 9:23 p.m. He is expected to live, police said.