MITO, Ibaraki Pref. - A man wanted by police for murder went on a stabbing spree outside a shopping mall in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Sunday, killing one man and injuring seven other people, police said.
Ibaraki Prefectural Police arrested Masahiro Kanagawa, 24, near the scene shortly after the attack. Kanagawa had been placed on the wanted list Friday on suspicion of fatally stabbing 72-year-old Tsuchiura resident Yoshikazu Miura on Wednesday. Kanagawa was initially arrested on suspicion of murdering Miura.
The police said they will pursue charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the eight stabbings, which took place in the area around JR Arakawaoki Station on the Joban Line.
Among the victims of Sunday’s rampage was 27-year-old Takahiro Yamakami of Ami, who died after being taken to a hospital.
The other seven include a 62-year-old woman and an 18-year-old male student who were seriously wounded, and three other men and a woman between 16 and 60, including a 29-year-old police officer from Tsuchiura police station, whose wounds are not life-threatening.
The police received a call about the stabbing spree at around 11 a.m. and another one from Kanagawa himself, who was calling from an unmanned police box.
“I did it,” he told them.
Officers overpowered Kanagawa in front of the police box, which is about 200 meters from the train station. He was armed with a kitchen knife and a survival knife.
The suspect told investigators after his arrest that he “wanted to kill people,” and that he didn’t care who they were.
The rampage took place even though eight police officers had been posted around the station following Wednesday’s murder, the police said, expressing regret for failing to prevent the attack.
According to police and witnesses, Kanagawa stabbed five people near the station’s ticket gate while walking from the west exit to the east exit, which leads to a narrow corridor to the mall. He then attacked two more on the path before fatally stabbing Yamakami just outside the entrance.
“I saw a young man collapsed, with a pool of blood around his head,” said the manager of a nearby cell phone shop “I can’t believe this is happening in such a quiet town,” he said.
A female employee at a nearby beauty salon said: “Four or five ambulances were here. I don’t know what’s going on here.”
In Wednesday’s slaying, Miura was allegedly stabbed once in the neck in front his house and died later in a hospital, the police said.
The police put Kanagawa on the wanted list Friday after discovering his bicycle at the crime scene and traces of Miura’s blood on clothes seized from his home.
Police described Kanagawa as an lonely, unemployed man who likes games and is not good at communicating with others. The day after he was put on the wanted list, Kanagawa made a trip to Tokyo’s electronics and game mecca of Akihabara, police said.
He lives with his parents, two sisters and a brother in Tsuchiura, they said. One of his schoolmates said Kanagawa didn’t have many friends and did not go out very often and would suddenly get angry after losing games.
He worked at a local convenience store sometimes, but didn’t have many other jobs, he said.