An out-of-work man shot and wounded two Tokyo police officers with a shotgun Wednesday when they stormed his apartment in Itabashi Ward following reports of a disturbance.
One of the officers, Assistant Inspector Tsuyoshi Yokoyama, 44, was listed in critical condition, while Sgt. Nobuhiro Hachinohe, 39, was seriously wounded.
The suspect, Ryosaku Mizushima, was seriously wounded. It was not immediately known if he was hit by police fire or if he shot himself, police said.
The 58-year-old Mizushima, who was in possession of three shotguns and two rifles, was placed under arrest for attempted murder.
According to police, the shootout took place at around 7:50 a.m., hours after investigators first entered Mizushima’s apartment on the fifth floor of a public housing complex to persuade him to surrender. He had locked himself inside Tuesday night after a quarrel with his 55-year-old wife.
Metropolitan Police Department officials defended their decision to rush the apartment even though Mizushima had taken no hostages, saying negotiators inside had not been able to persuade him to give up, and he was holding a shotgun and threatening to start shooting.
The situation had become dangerous, they said.
According to investigators, officers burst into the apartment from three directions, including the front door and veranda. Mizushima, who was in the kitchen, fired two blasts from his shotgun, wounding Yokoyama and Hachinohe. Police said they fired back with their pistols, and Mizushima was shot in the finger and suffered a broken arm and leg in the melee.
Police said Mizushima, who used to be in the construction machinery leasing business, had been drinking when he got into an argument with his wife at around 9 p.m. Tuesday over which television channel to watch, police said.
His wife fled to the nearby home of their 25-year-old daughter. The two women returned to the apartment, but Mizushima refused to let them in and suggested they all die together, police said.
The daughter called police at around 10:25 p.m., saying her mother had been beaten by her father.
Although officers from the local police station tried to persuade Mizushima to open the door, he did not respond. When police cut the door chain and entered the apartment at around 3:30 a.m., they found him holding a shotgun.
An acquaintance of Mizushima’s expressed surprise at the incident, saying he was a good-natured person. He added, however, that Mizushima had recently lamented that he could not find work.
A high school student who lives in the same complex said the couple often quarreled.
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