National / Crime & Legal

Police obtain warrant for driver suspected of firing airgun on Tomei Expressway

Kyodo

Police have obtained a fresh arrest warrant for a minivan driver in his 40s on suspicion of vandalism for allegedly firing an apparent airgun toward another driver on the Tomei Expressway in Aichi Prefecture while driving recklessly, investigative sources said Thursday.

The 23-year-old man driving the car that was being chased by the driver of the van said the suspect not only fired bullets at his car from behind but also shot at him while driving side by side.

“We often use this route and I drove as usual,” the driver of the car said.

The police are looking into what triggered the suspect’s aggressive driving.

According to the investigative sources, the man in his 40s is suspected of shooting at the young driver’s car and damaging it around 7 a.m. Sunday on a stretch from Nisshin to Miyoshi in Aichi Prefecture on the Tokyo-bound route.

The police said the suspect was driving a stolen minivan and ran out of gas after driving an hour and 20 minutes on the Chuo Expressway. Gifu Prefectural Police then tried to question the man but he escaped. The police believe the suspect switched license plates on the stolen car.

The 23-year-old driver said the driver of the stolen minivan first cut into cars cruising in the passing lane.

He then rapidly approached the man’s car while blaring the horn and fired the airgun. Soon afterward, the reckless driver pulled into the left lane and fired another round of shots toward the front passenger seat and later moved back to the passing lane and kept approaching the passenger car from behind.

About five minutes after the suspect started driving aggressively and disregarding traffic rules, the 23-year-old man pulled over to the left lane, but the suspect continued to drive by his side in the passing lane.

The man said the reckless driver also stretched his arms outside the car’s window, fired bullets at the 23-year-old driver and fled.

Apparently all bullets shot toward the car of the young driver hit the car’s windows.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening was real,” the driver recalled.

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