The Latest on Tuesday’s knife attack at a Japanese facility for the mentally disabled that left 19 dead
By: The Associated Press
Hearses have entered the premises of a Japanese facility for the mentally disabled where at least 19 people were killed in a knife attack.
One hearse came out after some time, but it was unclear whether it was carrying the body of a victim of Tuesday’s attack.
The media have been waiting all day outside the facility in Sagamihara, a city 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Tokyo.
Three people appearing to be a family showed up to lay flowers, but they were unable to do so, as police prevented them from coming close to the property.
Kyodo news service has released a letter that Satoshi Uematsu, the suspect in the killing of 19 people at a facility for disabled people, allegedly was trying forward to Tadamori Oshima, the lower house speaker of Japan’s parliament.
In it, Uematsu described detailed plans on how he planned to carry out such an attack during the night when there were few staff working. He wrote he would then turn himself in to the police.
Uematsu said that by killing the disabled he would stimulate the world economy and maybe even prevent a World War III.
“Now is the time to carry out a revolution and make an inevitable but tough decision for the sake of all mankind,” Uematsu wrote.
Japan’s top government spokesman has called the knife attack that killed at least 19 people outside Tokyo “very tragic and shocking.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Tuesday that “this is a very tragic and shocking incident where many innocent people became victims. I sincerely pray for peace for the souls of those killed and extend condolences to the bereaved families as well as those wounded.”
He said police together with government will work hard on the investigation “to grasp the whole picture.”
Authorities have confirmed 19 deaths at a facility for the handicapped in the city of Sagamihara.
People living near a facility for the handicapped where 19 people were killed in a knife attack describe the facility as a friendly place whose staff and residents joined in community events.
Akie Inoue, walking with her teenage daughter, said her daughter knew the suspect from events at the facility when she was in elementary school.
“I was surprised to hear that the culprit was a person from this neighborhood,” she said.
“My daughter knew the culprit, I mean, they were acquainted. They would greet each other when they would meet and she tells me that he was a very kind person. We are all very shocked.”
Her daughter, Honoka, said: “He had a cheerful impression. … He was the kind of person that would greet you first.”
A U.S. government statement issued by the White House expressed shock at the “heinous attack” and offered condolences to the families of those killed in the knife attack at a facility for the handicapped in Japan.
The statement by National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said “there is never any excuse for such violence, but the fact that this attack occurred at a facility for persons with disabilities makes it all the more repugnant and senseless.”
Local government officials have identified the suspect in the knife attack as Satoshi Uematsu.
A Kanagawa prefecture official told a news conference that Uematsu entered the building about 2:10 a.m. by breaking a glass window on the first floor of a residential building at the facility for the handicapped.
Shinya Sakuma, head of prefectural health and welfare division, said Uematsu had worked at the facility until February. Japanese media reports said he is 26 years old.
The Sagamihara fire department has said 19 people were killed in the attack Tuesday morning.
The Sagamihara City fire department says that 19 people are confirmed dead in the attack on a facility for the disabled outside Tokyo.
The fire department said a doctor or doctors on the scene confirmed the deaths around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
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