Three people were killed Thursday, including two police officers, in a shooting and stabbing attack in Japan’s central Nagano region, according to public broadcaster NHK and other Japanese media outlets.
Earlier police said a masked man carrying a rifle and a knife was holed up in a building in Nagano after attacking at least four people.
Officers had rushed to the scene after a pedestrian reported a commotion in Nakano City in the central Japanese prefecture of Nagano.
A witness told NHK public television that a woman fell while being chased by the suspect, who then stabbed her with a knife and shot at two police officers as they arrived at the scene.
Three of the victims were taken to a nearby hospital, including the woman, and were later pronounced dead, police said.
Police described the suspect as a man wearing a camouflage outfit, a hat, a mask, and sunglasses, Kyodo News agency said. City officials urged those in the area to stay home.
Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the world. There were more than four firearm homicides in the U.S. per 100,000 people in 2019, compared to almost zero in Japan.
As CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported last year, Japan’s strict laws on private gun ownership have surprising origins in the United States.
When the U.S. occupied Japan after World War II, it disarmed the country. Americans shaped the legislation that took firearms largely out of the hands of Japanese civilians.