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Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 13:52

At least 19 die in knifing at Japan disabled home

By Associated Press

At least 19 die in knifing at Japan disabled home
A police officer stands guard at the gate of Tsukui Yamayuri-en, a facility for the handicapped where a number of people were killed and dozens injured in a knife attack in Sagamihara, outside Tokyo July 26, 2016. (AP Photo / Eugene H oshiko)
SAGAMIHARA, Japan — At least 19 people were killed and about 20 wounded in a knife attack Tuesday at a facility for the handicapped in a city just outside Tokyo in the worst mass killing in generations in Japan.

Confirming the fatalities, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said at a news conference that police had not obtained any information to suggest there was a link between the attack and Islamist extremism.

Police said they responded to a call at about 2:30 am from an employee saying something horrible was happening at the facility in the city of Sagamihara, 50 kilometers west of Tokyo.

A man turned himself in at a police station about two hours later, police in Sagamihara said. He left the knife in his car when he entered the station. He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and trespassing.

Officials in Kanagawa prefecture, which borders Tokyo, identified the suspect as Satoshi Uematsu, and said he had worked at the facility until February. Japanese media reports said he was 26 years old.

He entered the building about 2:10 am by breaking a glass window on the first floor of a residential building at the facility, Shinya Sakuma, head of prefectural health and welfare division, said at a news conference.

Uematsu had been put in hospital early this year after expressing a willingness to kill disabled people if the government approved, a city official said.

Police in the town of Tsukui near Tokyo contacted Uematsu, and he was involuntarily committed to hospital on Feb 19 after he had tried to present a letter to the speaker of the lower house of Japan's parliament, said an official from nearby Sagamihara city who declined to be named.

Uematsu told police he would kill many severely disabled people if the national government approved such an action, the official told Reuters by phone. He was discharged on March 2 after a doctor deemed his condition had improved, the official said.

Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa expressed his condolences to the victims.

At least 19 die in knifing at Japan disabled home

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