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Shinzo Abe shooting: who’s the killer Tetsuya Yamagami and what weapon did he use?

In a country where gun violence is rare, the murder of former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe is raising big questions about the shooter and his motive.

Based on media reports and official statements so far, is that Abe had just begun a campaign speech in the Western city of Nara on Friday when he was shot from behind, from a distance of about three meters (10 feet).

Two gunshots were heard. Moments later security personnel tackled a man to the floor. He was wearing a grey T-shirt, khaki trousers and a face mask.

Abe, 67, was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He was later pronounced dead despite emergency treatment that included massive blood transfusions, hospital officials said.

Nara Medical University emergency department chief Hidetada Fukushima said Abe suffered major damage to his heart in addition to two neck wounds that damaged an artery, causing extensive bleeding. He was in a state of cardio and pulmonary arrest when he arrived at the hospital and never regained his vital signs, Fukushima said.

The gunmen has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old former member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Local media said he had worked for the Navy from 2002 to 2005.

NHK reported that the suspect was “frustrated” with Abe and wanted to kill him over complaints that were not related to political views.

Nara police said the suspect’s gun was handmade. A close-up shot of the weapon on the ground after the shooting appeared to show two tubes wrapped together with black tape.

“That’s the suspect’s assertion, and we have determined that [the gun] is clearly handmade in appearance, although our analysis is currently ongoing,” a police officer in Nara region, where the assassination took place, told reporters.

Investigators carrying out a raid of the suspect’s home to gather evidence reportedly found explosives in the flat.

Deadly fires are unusual in Japan, which has strict building standards. Arson was also suspected as the cause of a 2001 explosion and fire at a nightclub in Tokyo’s central Shinjuku district that killed 44 people, but no culprit was found.

The last assassination of a top political figure in Japan was in 1960, when Inejiro Asanuma, the leader of the Japan Socialist Party, was stabbed by a right-wing youth.

But in April 2007, a yakuza mobster shot dead Nagasaki mayor Iccho Ito as he campaigned for re-election.

Japan’s most notorious attack took place nearly three decades ago in March 1995, when the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo released toxic sarin gas in Tokyo’s subway network, killing 13 people and making thousands of others sick.

The chemical was released in liquid form at five locations during rush hour, causing commuters to stagger from trains struggling to breathe.

It prompted a crackdown on the cult’s headquarters near Mount Fuji, where authorities discovered a plant capable of producing enough sarin to kill millions. In total 13 Aum members, including the cult’s near-blind leader Shoko Asahara, were executed over the crime.


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