• Kyodo


Police arrested a 38-year-old man Saturday for allegedly killing three people and injuring three others with a truck in a driving rampage at a shopping arcade here.

Seiji Otomo was arrested on suspicion of negligence resulting in death and injury, as well as a hit-and-run charge, after turning himself in at a police box and saying that he ran the people down in his truck, the police said.

The three people killed were identified as Kenji Sekine, 24, Wakako Takahashi, 44, and Junko Hayashi, 42.

The shopping arcade is a thoroughfare used by many commuters and pedestrians to get to nearby JR Sendai Station.

Otomo was quoted as telling police that he ran down the people because he wanted to die. He said he tried to immolate himself in the truck by pouring kerosene on his body and setting himself alight.

When he turned himself in, his upper body was naked and partly burned, the police said.

Otomo also made some inconsistent remarks. Police said they would question him further.

Otomo entered the pedestrian-only arcade from the west side around 9 a.m. and drove frantically down the shopping lane toward the station for about 500 meters, hitting four people on the way.

After crossing a street and continuing straight into another arcade, he hit two more people before slamming into another truck. A fire then broke out inside the cab of the truck he was driving, the police said.

The fire in the truck, which was rented, was apparently set by Otomo.

Otomo said he arrived in Sendai a few days ago from Chiba Prefecture, the police said.

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