TOKYO – At least 19 are dead and 26 injured after a former employee went on a stabbing rampage at a residential home for mentally disabled people near Tokyo, Japanese news media reported Tuesday.
It is one of the worst mass killings in Japan since World War II.
Kyodo News Service said police arrested a 26-year-old man who turned himself in at a nearby police station at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, local time.
Police said the man, identified as Satoshi Uematsu, told them “I did it,” and “It’s better that the disabled disappear,” according to Kyodo.
Police said Uematsu entered the facility at about 2:10 a.m., Tuesday, local time, by breaking a ground floor window with a hammer, then apparently went room to room stabbing anyone he saw. Police said Uematsu later drove himself to a police station where he surrendered without incident.
He had a bag full of knives and other edged tools, some with bloodstains, when he turned himself in, Kyodo reported.
Kanagawa Prefectural officials said at a news conference that Uematsu worked at the care facility from 2012 to February 2016. They did not say what job he had held or explain the circumstances under which he left.
The attack took place at the Tsukui Yamayuri En (Tsukui Lily Garden), a residential home for disabled people run by Kanagawa Prefecture, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside Tokyo. Officials said about 150 people, ranging in age from 19 to 75, live at the care home.
It is located in a largely residential area, with a school and amusement park nearby.
Violent crime is rare in Japan and private gun ownership is severely restricted.
Twelve people were killed and 50 injured when religious cultists released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system in March 1995. In 2008, a man rammed a truck into pedestrians in the popular Akihabara electronics district, then began stabbing people with a knife; seven people died in that incident.
Television news footage Tuesday showed dozens of police cars and ambulances at the Kanagawa facility, along with a large orange police crime-scene tent and scores of journalists. Local news media reported that family members and neighbors began gathering at the facility early Friday, with some complaining that they had received no information from officials.