WAKAYAMA – One man died and three others were injured Monday in a shooting at a construction company’s office in the city of Wakayama.
The suspected gunman, a 45-year-old former employee of the firm Wadai Kogyo was on the run. He was believed to be a relative of one of the firm’s senior officials.
Police said there was no indication that the attack on the construction company was a yakuza hit.
The victims, all employees of the company, were shot in the stomach and arms.
The police said the wounded were males between the ages of 43 and 46. The dead victim was identified as Junsuke Ishiyama, 45.
One of the victims reportedly told the police that the attacker pulled a gun out of a bag and began shooting while he and the four victims were holding talks.
Nearby residents expressed shock. Gun crimes in Japan usually involve rivalries between yakuza groups.
“I saw a lot of ambulances and firetrucks this morning. I thought there was a fire or an accident. I never imagined it might be a shooting,” said a 52-year-old man who runs a local shop that sells industrial clothing.
“It’s a normal construction company. The people there are good people,” the man said, adding that the firm’s staff have been clients of his for gloves and other work garments.
“I can’t believe something like this happened,” he said.
A 79-year-old man who runs a factory nearby said he had never heard of trouble at the company.
“I was so surprised to see all the police cars,” he said.
The construction company, founded in 1979, has about 10 employees and has received orders for public works projects from both the city and prefecture of Wakayama, according to a credit research company.
Wadai Kogyo is located about 3 km southwest of JR Wakayama Station in an area of shops and houses.
The police alerted schools in the neighborhood to the incident.
“We have to give serious consideration for student safety before the new term begins Thursday,” said Atsuko Nishikawa, principal of a public elementary school about 1 km from the company.
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