Murderer Abe with a homemade gun, a grudge for his mother’s financial ruin: Police

Flowers, water bottles and a framed photo of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on July 9, 2022 near the crime scene where he was shot dead during a political event in Nara, Japan. The incident is one of the most famous acts of political violence by the Japanese since World War II.

Kosuke Okahara | Bloomberg | beautiful pictures

The man was arrested for Shinzo Abe kills people believes the former Japanese leader is linked to a religious group he blames for sabotaging his mother’s finances and spent months planning the homemade gun attack, police told local media on Saturday.

Tetsuya Yamagami, an unemployed 41-year-old man, was identified by police as a suspect who approached Japan’s longest-serving prime minister from behind and opened fire, an attack that was captured on video and caused shakes up a country where gun violence is rare.

With shaggy hair and glasses, the suspect was seen entering the street behind Abe, who was standing on a breakwater at an intersection, before releasing two shots from a 40cm-long weapon ( 16 inches) wrapped in black tape. He was dealt with by the police at the scene.

Yamagami is a loner and does not respond when spoken to, neighbors told Reuters. Kyodo news agency quoted an investigative source as saying he believed Abe was promoting a religious group to which his mother had made a “huge” donation.

He told police that his mother went bankrupt because of the donation, the Yomiuri newspaper and other media reported.

“My mother got caught up in a religious group and I was outraged by it,” Kyodo and others quoted him as telling police.

Nara police declined to comment on details reported by Japanese media about Yamagami’s motives or preparations.

The media did not name the religious group he was said to be upset with.

The Yamagami jury rigged weapons from parts purchased online, spent months planning the attack, even attending other Abe campaign events, including the day before about 200 kilometers (miles), media said.

According to broadcaster NHK, he considered a bomb blast before choosing a gun.

The suspect told police he made the guns by wrapping steel tubes together with duct tape, some with three, five or six tubes, with parts he bought online, NHK said.

Police found bullet holes in a sign mounted on a campaign vehicle near the site of the shooting and believe they were from Yamagami, police said on Saturday. Videos show Abe turning towards the attacker after the first shot before collapsing to the ground after the second shot.

Bar hostess

Yamagami lives on the eighth floor of a building of small apartments. The ground floor is full of bars, where patrons pay to drink and chat with the hostesses. A karaoke bar has been shut down.

The elevator stops at only three floors, a cost-effective design. Yamagami was supposed to get down and walk up a flight of stairs to get to his apartment.

One of his neighbors, a 69-year-old woman who lived downstairs, saw him three days before Abe was assassinated.

“I greeted him but he ignored me. He just looked at the ground and wasn’t wearing a mask. He looked worried,” the woman, who only gave her last name Nakayama, told Reuters. “It was like I was invisible. He seemed to have something bothering him.”

She pays 35,000 yen ($260) a month in rent and assumes her neighbors pay the same.

A Vietnamese woman who lives two doors down from Yamagami, named Mai, said he seems to keep it to himself. “I’ve seen him a few times. I bowed to him in the elevator, but he didn’t say anything.”

Naval gun experience

A man named Tetsuya Yamagami served with the Maritime Self-Defense Force from 2002 to 2005, a spokesman for the Japanese navy said, declining to say whether this was the suspected killer, as media reported.

The spokesman said the Yamagami had attended a training unit at Sasebo, a major naval base in the southwest, and was assigned to the destroyer artillery division. He was then assigned to a training ship in Hiroshima.

“During their service, members of the Self-Defense Force train with live ammunition once a year. They also do gun classification and maintenance,” a senior naval officer told Reuters.

“But since they’re following orders when they do it, it’s hard to believe they have enough knowledge to be able to build a gun,” he said. Even military soldiers who serve “for many years do not know how to make guns”.

Some time after leaving the navy, Yamagami signed up with a staffing company and at the end of 2020 started working at a factory in Kyoto as a forklift operator, Mainichi newspaper reported.

He had no problems until mid-April, when he quit without permission and then told his boss he wanted to quit, the newspaper said. He used up his day off and it ended on May 15th.

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