• Kyodo

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A 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were arrested Thursday on suspicion of assault in connection with the drive-by spraying of 66 junior high school students the previous day with a fire extinguisher, police said.

Also arrested was a 18-year-old building painter who was in the same vehicle as the two suspects when the incident took place, on suspicion of stealing three cars. He is also suspected of stealing the vehicle used in the incident.

He was quoted by investigators as saying he had the girl sit in the passenger seat to spray the students of the Takakura Junior High School. The identities of the three have not been released in line with the Juvenile Law.

The girl, a third-year student at the school, was quoted as saying she hated the attitudes of the students. Earlier, the girl was quoted as saying she had wanted to “have some fun” by spraying the fire extinguisher and happened to come across the students.

The girl began skipping classes in her first year, school officials said.

According to police, the 18-year-old youth is a graduate of Takakura Junior High.

Police allege that the boy stole three cars from a used car dealer in the city last week. They also suspect him of stealing the vehicle used in the spraying incident from the same dealer Tuesday.

According to the teens’ statements, they stole a fire extinguisher found along a road near the school and sprayed several groups of students headed to school at random.

The vehicle used in the attack was found near the boy’s home, and traces of powder from the fire extinguisher were found inside. The plates on the car had been replaced.

Police became aware of the boy after hearing eyewitness accounts of other incidents in which someone intimidated kids with a car, the sources said.

Of the three vehicles he is suspected of stealing, one was found near the used car dealer and another elsewhere in the city. Its insides had been sprayed with fire retardant. The third car has not been found.

School officials expressed shock and apologized.

Principal Junko Banba told reporters that teachers had told her the truant girl was a “kind, straightforward child.”

“We apologize for one of our students being involved in an incident such as this,” she said.

The girl has only been to school twice since the school year opened in April, Banba said.

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