• Kyodo

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Four people were shot dead and two others were severely injured in a shooting late Saturday night during what is suspected to have been a mob attack, police said Sunday.

The incident occurred at the Kazu bar in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, about 1.5 km northeast of JR Maebashi Station.

Three of the four victims — Fukuji Mizuishi, 53, Hatsuko Satori, 66, and Teruji Okawara, 50 — were apparently unconnected to the mob and were caught in the cross fire, according to the police.

It is the first time in Japan that so many ordinary citizens have been killed in a mob-related fight, they said.

The fourth victim was identified as a former gangster, 31-year-old Ryoichi Seya.

More than 10 shots were fired by two helmeted assailants who had burst into the bar.

Mizuishi and Satori were shot in the head, Okawara was shot in the arm and Seya was shot in the stomach, the police said.

The shooting also seriously wounded two others — former mob leader Kunio Goto, 55, and Norimasa Katada, 55, a licensed cook from Saitama Prefecture.

Goto is believed to have been the intended target of the attack. The former leader of a gangster group affiliated with the major crime syndicate Inagawakai, Goto was also shot and severely injured in October by four men in Shirasawa-mura, Gunma Prefecture. Police are looking into a possible connection between the two cases.

Police said that at around 11:25 p.m. Saturday, the two culprits approached Goto’s car, which was parked in front of the bar, and shot Seya when he got out of the car. They then stormed into the bar and fired several shots before fleeing on foot.

Police are looking for suspects.

Nine people — the five who were shot, three other customers and a female bar manager — were in the bar at the time of the attack. Goto was a regular customer at the bar.

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