YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) A 57-year-old Kawasaki man was arrested Saturday after allegedly stabbing his landlord and two of his relatives to death out of an apparent grudge against the family, police said.
Sumitoshi Tsuda was taken into custody on suspicion of using a 20-cm kitchen knife to stab landlord Akihito Shibata, 73, his brother Yoshiaki, 71, and the brother’s wife, Toshiko, 68.
Tsuda owned up to the killings but told investigators he had no intent to kill, suggesting the stabbing spree was not premeditated but instigated by quick anger, the police said.
I “lost patience with the noise they made,” Tsuda reportedly told the police, citing noise from their door, washing machine and stair use.
The attack began at around 6:50 a.m. at the Koei-so apartment complex in Saiwai Ward when the elder Shibata came over to his brother’s two-story apartment next door after hearing an argument erupt between his brother’s wife and Tsuda, who lives next door.
The landlord was found dead in front of the apartment, while his brother and wife were found dead in their rooms on the first floor, the police said.
Their bodies were found by the landlord’s 39-year-old daughter, who alerted police by dialing 110, the police said.
The suspect was extremely drunk at the time, and when police arrived, he was sitting on a tatami mat in his room with the knife stuck in the mat in front of him, the police said.
Tsuda had been living in the apartment complex for about five years and had a longtime grudge against the family, police said.
Tsuda’s neighbors said he was occasionally late paying his ¥30,000-a-month rent but was more often seen arguing with the Shibatas over daily matters, such as noise from their washing machines.
Tsuda always cursed at his landlord and his relatives and often complained about the noise they made, his neighbors said. Occasionally, he would bang on their doors late at night when he was drunk.
“I got a warning after I failed to pay my rent,” Tsuda was quoted as telling one neighbor. “The Shibatas are totally annoying because they do laundry even before the dawn. I’m suffering from insomnia.”
He then started talking about a plan to “punch a hole” in the couple’s washing machine, the neighbor said.
Even on Friday night, hours before the stabbings, Tsuda was speaking ill of his landlord while drinking at a nearby bar, another person close to the suspect said.
While some neighbors knew trouble was brewing, others were shocked by the sudden, violent ending.
The landlord “was a nice, quiet person and always said hello to me while I was walking my dog in the morning,” said a housewife who lives nearby.
The apartment is in a residential area about 500 meters north of JR Kawasaki Station.
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