Cop in murder-suicide allegedly stalked victim

Kyodo News

The Tokyo policeman found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound earlier this week in the apartment of a woman who had also been fatally shot was allegedly stalking her and killed her out of fear of being exposed, police sources said Friday.

The policeman was identified as Hidekazu Tomono, 40, a “koban” police box duty officer at the Tachikawa Police Station of the Metropolitan Police Department.

He allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Yoko Sato, an employee of a restaurant in Tachikawa, western Tokyo.

Investigators say Sato had sent e-mail messages to Tomono threatening to file a criminal complaint against him because she said he had entered her apartment without permission.

Sato’s last message, sent at around 9:50 p.m. Monday shortly before she was killed, reads that his intrusion into her flat could be established by fingerprints, the sources said.

Tomono apparently feared his stalking would be exposed, they said.

Tokyo police alleged that Tomono shot Sato to death with his handgun Monday night at her apartment in Kokubunji, in western Tokyo, and then turned the gun on himself.

Both bodies were found in the flat Tuesday morning. The woman had been shot twice in the chest and once in the abdomen, while Tomono had a gunshot wound to the chest.

The sources said Sato sent six e-mails Monday to Tomono’s mobile phone. In the messages, she said she did not want to meet with Tomono, noted he had entered her apartment without permission and she threatened to file a criminal complaint against him. The last time a policeman committed murder in Japan was in December 2000, when a 42-year-old Kanagawa Prefectural Police officer stabbed and killed a colleague and then killed himself.