Knife attack at disabled facility in Japan leaves 19 dead, dozens injured


At least 19 people have been reported killed at a facility for disabled persons in Sagamihara, outside Tokyo. The assailant has surrendered to police.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning a man with a knife attacked a facility for the disabled in Sagamihara, outside Tokyo.

He is reported to have killed at least 19 people and injured many others. Some reports indicate up to 45 people may have been harmed. Four of the residents may have had heart attacks and died as a result. Emergency squads responded to the attack and the injured were taken to six different hospitals in the western Tokyo area.

The man, who was identified by national broadcaster NHK as a 26-year-old former employee at the facility, then turned himself in to police about two hours later. He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and trespassing.

Police cordoned off the area in front of the facility after the attackPolice cordoned off the area in front of the facility after the attack

According to police cited by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the suspect said: “The disabled should all disappear.”

Police say staff called police at 2.30 a.m. local time reporting an armed man was in the grounds of the Tsukui Yamayuri Garden facility.

Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Tokyo. The center was set up by the local government and cares for people with a wide range of disabilities

Mass killing are relatively rare in Japan, which has extremely strict gun-control laws. The attack in Sagamihara was the worst in decades.

jm/kl (Reuters, AP)