National / Crime & Legal

Sendai policeman's killer may have tried to steal officer's gun

JIJI, Kyodo

A university student who stabbed a policeman to death at a police box in Sendai on Wednesday may have tried to steal the officer’s gun, investigative sources said Thursday.

The body of police officer Hiroaki Seino, 33, had cuts apparently inflicted during his attempts to fight back against the suspected attacker, Yuta Aizawa, 21, according to the sources.

As no past conflicts have been confirmed between the two, the Miyagi Prefectural Police suspect that the attacker may have been looking to steal a gun from the officer.

The suspected attacker, a third-year student at Tohoku Gakuin University in Sendai, was shot dead by another police officer.

Police investigators raided Aizawa’s home in Sendai on Thursday on suspicion of murder.

According to the sources Aizawa visited the police box in Miyagino Ward at around 4 a.m. Wednesday and claimed that he had found some cash.

After exchanging words for a few minutes, Aizawa stabbed Seino in the stomach and chest multiple times with a knife which had a blade about 20-cm long, the sources said.

Aizawa also tried to attack a 47-year-old police sergeant who rushed to the scene from a different room at the police box. The sergeant fired three shots at the attacker after he refused to follow his order to drop the knife.

Aizawa also carried with him what appeared to be a fake machine gun, a screwdriver and a box cutter.

The police said Seino and Aizawa both died from blood loss, with the policeman suffering damage to his heart and the attacker to his lung.

Shunichi Kuryu, head of the National Police Agency, said at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday that he takes the incident seriously. The murder comes at a time when the police are working to beef up security at police boxes.

The agency has issued instructions to police officers to wear knife-proof clothing at all times.

Meanwhile, Norio Matsumoto, president of Tohoku Gakuin University, apologized Thursday over the incident through a statement posted on its website, saying, “It is extremely deplorable that our student was involved in the murder of a policeman.”

“We express our regret over the death of the policeman and extend our deep apologies to the bereaved family,” he added.