Japan Shooting News: Police capture gunman who held staff member hostage in a Japanese post office for 8 hours

Japanese police have captured a gunman who holed up at a post office and has rescued a member of staff who was held hostage, NHK television reported Tuesday.
It followed a more than eight-hour standoff with the man, who entered the post office with a gun in Warabi, north of Tokyo, an hour after a hospital shooting in which two people were wounded in the nearby city of Toda.
Police said they were investigating the two cases together because of a possibility they are related. They are also looking into a fire that broke out in a building near the hospital around the time of the shooting.
Hundreds of police had surrounded the building housing the post office. Television footage showed officers wearing helmets and bulletproof vests squatting behind the doors of a patrol vehicle parked outside. The video also showed the suspect — an older-looking man wearing a cap and holding a gun — when he showed up briefly at the entrance.
Earlier Tuesday, Saitama Prefectural Police said two men — a doctor in his 40s and a patient in his 60s — were wounded after blasts resembling gunfire were heard outside a general hospital in the city of Toda, just north of Tokyo.
The victims were both conscious and their wounds were not life-threatening, police said. Kyodo News agency said the two were believed to be inside a consultation room on the first floor when they were attacked, and that cracks were found in the window.
Police said the attacker apparently fired his gun from the street and then fled on a motorcycle.
In a third suspicious case, police are also investigating a fire that broke out at an apartment building near the hospital in Toda around the time of the shooting.
Most post office staff could leave at the beginning of the standoff, but two remained inside. One was seen to leave after about five hours.
Police had urged residents near the post office to take shelter at a facility set up by the authorities. About 300 children from a nearby school who usually walk home were taken home by bus as a precaution, local media reported.
Japan has strict gun control laws, but in recent years, there has been a growing concern about handmade weapons, such as the one allegedly used in the July 2022 assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 

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