Sunday, June 08, 2008

Akihabara Stabbing Spree

There has been a stabbing spree in the Akihabara, a video game and robotics district of downtown Tokyo, on Sunday.

CNN/AP is reporting that a man used a rented van to run over a group of people, and then jumped out and stabbed 18, killing at least 7, in this special video game district of Tokyo. This occurred, local Japanese time, on Sunday afternoon, June 8, 2008, according to a Tokyo fire official.

The dead included six men, ranging in age from 19 to 74, - one may have died of a heart attack - and a 21-year-old woman, according to a Tokyo metropolitan police officer. Eleven others were wounded, police said, with two critically injured.

"The suspect told police that he came to Akihabara to kill people," Jiro Akaogi, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, told The Associated Press.

"He said he was tired of life. He said he was sick of everything," Akaogi added.

Japanese media reported that the suspect told investigators he was 25 years old. He was later identified as Tomohiro Kato.

Nearly 20 ambulances rushed to the scene, with television footage showing rescue workers tending to victims in the street.

The attack comes seven years to the day that a man entered an elementary school in Osaka in western Japan and killed eight children with a knife. The attacker, Mamoru Takuma, was executed in 2004 for the crime.

On September 8, 1999, a man killed two shoppers and injured others in a stabbing spree in the Ikebukuro area of Tokyo.

In January 2008, a high school student injured two with a knife on a shopping street in Tokyo.

In March 2008, a man wanted by police on suspicion of murder stabbed and killed a woman and injured 7 others in a shopping mall in Ibaraki, north of Tokyo.

The Akihabara district, where the attack took place, specializes in electronic gadgets and video games and is popular with people interested in comic books and distinctive fashion.

The Akihabara is a major shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, and otaku goods, including new and used items. New items are mostly to be found on the main street, Chūōdōri, with many kinds of used items found in the back streets of Soto Kanda 3-chōme. First-hand parts for PC-building are readily available from a variety of stores. Tools, electrical parts, wires, microsized cameras and similar items are found in the cramped passageways of Soto Kanda 1-chōme (near the station). Akihabara gained some fame through being home to one of the first stores devoted to personal robots and robotics.

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