A 41-year-old man who lived in the city where former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated was immediately arrested after the shooting.
Police identified Nara resident Tetsuya Yamagami as the man who shot the Asian country’s longest-serving prime minister twice in the neck, killing him. Yamagami is currently held on attempted murder charges, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. His charges are expected to be upgraded to homicide in light of Abe’s death from injuries suffered from Yamagami’s attack.
“Former Prime Minister Abe was giving a speech normally, but a man came from behind. The first shot heard only a very loud sound and the person did not fall down. However, the moment the second shot was shot, former Prime Minister Abe collapsed,” a witness told NHK. “The [suspect] didn’t seem to run away, he stayed there and the gun was there.”
The alleged assassin used a homemade gun to shoot Abe, a weapon Japanese police said was more than 1 foot long and 8 inches in height, according to a New York Times report.
Police said Yamagami responded calmly to their questions, admitting he attacked Abe. According to the Fox report, the shooter told investigators he had plotted to kill Abe because he believed rumors about the former leader’s connection to a certain organization.
The Japanese broadcaster NHK reported Ministry of Defense officials said the suspect, Yamagami, spent three years serving in the country’s Maritime Self-Defense Force between 2002 and 2005.
“The weapon used by Abe’s assailant made a noise that could be compared to an explosion, and white smoke rose into the air after it was discharged. A gunpowder-like smell could be detected afterward,” a Friday report by the Kyodo News noted. The report added, an on-the-scene Kyodo News journalist said the weapon appeared to have been held together with duct tape.
NHK described video captured prior to the shooting purportedly showing Yamagami standing behind Abe, scanning the surroundings. Then, he is reportedly seen taking something out of a bag he was carrying and walking slowly toward Abe. NHK added, Yamagami then walked to within several yards of the former prime minister before raising his gun and opening fire.
Abe was shot about 2 minutes and 20 seconds into his speech, the report added.