National / Crime & Legal

Sagamihara mass-murder suspect says he was ‘pursued by gangster’

Kyodo

The 27-year-old suspect in a deadly stabbing rampage last July at a facility for people with disabilities told police he sped up his plans for the attack after hearing he was being pursued by a gangster, investigative sources said Wednesday.

Satoshi Uematsu reportedly told police an acquaintance with underworld connections informed him on July 25 that he was being targeted by a gangster. The following day, he broke into the Tsukui Yamayuri En facility in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, where he previously worked, and killed 19 residents.

It is unclear whether the suspect had in fact been pursued by a gangster. But prosecutors have decided in a psychiatric test that Uematsu is mentally competent to stand trial and plan to indict him on Friday, the deadline of his detention period.

Uematsu first planned to attack the facility on Oct. 1, according to the sources.

He was also called by police the same day for leaving a car at a fast-food restaurant in Sagamihara.

The situation made him worry that he might not be able to carry out his plot, prompting him to expedite preparations for the attack, including buying supplies at a nearby hardware store.

Asked why he first thought of conducting the rampage on Oct. 1, Uematsu said he was a fan of a card game called “Illuminati” and that “1001” is a sacred number.

The suspect may have had mild difficulty acting rationally due to a personality disorder, but Uematsu was able to judge right from wrong at the time of the crime, a psychiatric evaluation concluded.

Uematsu is suspected of breaking into the facility and stabbing residents in the early hours of July 26. Twenty-seven people, including three facility staffers, were also injured in the rampage.

Uematsu had worked at the facility between December 2012 and February last year but quit after he had several outbursts in which he expressed his views on euthanizing people with disabilities.