National

Cops' alleged inaction before killings probed

Kyodo

Authorities are reviewing earlier police responses to repeated complaints from residents of Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture, regarding the violent behavior of a man who allegedly killed seven of his relatives Monday.

“An investigation is under way by Hyogo Prefectural Police on how (Kakogawa) police responded to (the residents’ complaints) and on whether the responses were appropriate,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a news conference Tuesday in Tokyo.

Yasutaka Fujishiro, 47, remains hospitalized with serious burns sustained when he crashed his car after allegedly stabbing the seven to death in two homes and seriously wounding another.

Police have obtained an arrest warrant for Fujishiro and plan to serve it once his condition improves.

Following the grisly slayings, people who live near Fujishiro’s house told reporters he had acted violently toward his neighbors for years.

They said they repeatedly asked police to take action but to no avail.

On Monday, Kakogawa Police Station officials initially denied having been contacted by residents over Fujishiro’s behavior, but they later acknowledged that neighbors had sought advice in July 2001 and July 2002.

Yukio Kurume, deputy Kakogawa Police chief, claimed records show that the station received no emergency calls from residents concerning a person named Fujishiro at least since January 2003.

However, one local resident said he “repeatedly talked to police (about Fujishiro’s violent behavior) but was told they cannot take action unless real damage is done.”

It was also learned Tuesday that two Kakogawa residents had consulted a local health center in July 2001, asking officials to talk to Fujishiro’s mother to have him either receive treatment at a mental hospital or institutionalized because of his violent and erratic behavior.

But the residents later retracted the request, citing fears of revenge. The health center then advised the two to file a complaint with police if there was further trouble.

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