National / Crime & Legal

Wakayama gunman ends siege with fatal self-inflicted stomach shot

Kyodo

A gunman who was locked in a standoff with police at an apartment block in the city of Wakayama died late Wednesday after ending the 17½-hour siege with a self-inflicted gunshot to the stomach.

Former construction worker Yasuhide Mizobata, 45, was taken to the hospital by ambulance but died about two hours later. He is suspected of killing a former colleague and injuring three others by shooting them during a meeting at a construction firm in the city on Monday.

Mizobata had kept the officers at bay by occasionally firing the gun while yelling about a failed business. The police responded by evacuating residents and trying to get him to surrender.

He reportedly shot the victims in their torsos and legs. One remains unconscious and the other two have serious injuries.

Mizobata is the second son of the construction firm’s president and used to work there. After holing up in one of the apartment units, he fired an apparent warning shot early in the morning and another later on.

He also pointed a gun at himself a few times while interacting with the police.

The police say he asked them to hand his mother ¥2 million in a bag that was found with a letter apparently written by Mizobata on a street nearby.

Officers first intercepted Mizobata late Tuesday while he was riding a bike. He fired four shots at a police car and fled.

They then tracked him down at around 1 a.m. Wednesday and the siege began.

Investigators say security footage incriminates Mizobata in Monday’s shooting because it shows him leaving the company’s premises shortly afterward and heading toward a car in the nearby parking lot.

Mizobata was convicted of a drugs offense last year and was out on bail at the time of the shooting. His conviction was recently finalized and he was supposed to go to prison on Monday to begin his prison term.