Nineteen killed in knife attack at Japan disability centre

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Nineteen people are reported dead and at least 25 injured in a knife attack at a medical care for mentally disabled people in central Japan. Early reports on the matter say that a former employee stormed in and went on a stabbing rampage at about 2:10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The incident happened at a residential home for people with disabilities called Tsukui Yamayuri En (Tsukui Lily Garden) and located about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Tokyo, in Kanagawa Prefecture.

A 26-year-old man identified as Satoshi Uematsu was arrested by local police at around 3 a.m. on Tuesday. The attacker reportedly drove to the nearby Tsukui Police Station and turned himself in saying “I did it.” He was detained on suspicion of attempted murder and unlawful entry to a building.

The victims of the attack were aged between 19 and 70, but their identities have not been released.

Apparently, Uematsu was a former employee of the facility for disabled and he thought that “It’s better that the disabled disappear,” as police quoted him as saying. He is thought to have broken a window with a hammer to get into the building. When he showed up at the Tsukui Police Station he had with him a bag full of knives and other edged weapons.

Moreover, it has now surfaced that the perpetrator sent a letter to state officials in February, when he lost his job at the care centre, in which he threatened to kill hundreds of disabled people. At the time, he was arrested and spent almost two weeks in jail before being released.

A government official has stated that this cruel attack is Japan’s worst mass killing in decades, actually the worst since World War II.