• Kyodo

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Police have made a partial fingerprint match between a gunman who shot and killed a woman and two teenage girls in a supermarket in western Tokyo two decades ago, and a local resident who has since died, investigative sources said on Wednesday.

Part of a fingerprint found on sticky tape used to tie up two high school-age girls appears to tally with records for a man who lived nearby at the time, the sources said. The three were found dead, shot in the head, in an office at a supermarket in Hachioji, Tokyo, in July 1995.

Police discovered the match after trolling through a database of criminal records.

The man lived in Tokyo’s Tama district near Hachioji. He died about a decade ago, apparently from illness, they said.

In the unsolved shootings, two teenage girls and a 47-year-old part-time worker at the store were shot point-blank in what appeared to have been an attempted robbery. One of the students had a part-time summer job at the store, while the other was her friend.

The assailant is believed to have tried to open a strongbox containing ¥5 million, leaving the box’s door pockmarked by the impact of bullets.

Police are investigating the man’s living conditions at the time, but believe this may be a key lead in solving the murders.

Nevertheless, police sources cautioned, the fingerprint found at the scene does not fully meet the requirements for a match with that held in the police records. Police require 12 features to match, but not all did in this case, they said.

The murders took place in the evening when a Bon dance festival was underway at a park nearby. Police obtained little eyewitness information at the time.

They continued trying to gather leads from neighbors and supermarket staff, and have offered a reward for information. Total rewards, including those posted by private organizations, amounted to ¥6 million.

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