TOKYO (TR) – A 21-year-old man arrested in a car-ramming incident that left 8 persons injured on a shopping street in Shibuya Ward early on Tuesday was in possession of kerosene, police have revealed, reports TBS News (Jan. 2).
At just past midnight, Kazuhiro Kusakabe plowed the vehicle he was driving into a crowd of pedestrians on Takeshita-dori in the Harajuku district.
A 19-year-old male university student is unconscious and in serious condition. The seven other victims, all male, suffered minor injuries, according to police.
Officers later arrested Kusakabe on suspicion of attempted murder. During questioning, he told police he rented the vehicle in Osaka Prefecture and arrived in the capital the day before.
“I came to Tokyo to go on a rampage. I continued to press the accelerator [in ramming into the crowd],” the suspect was quoted. “[It was] in retaliation for capital punishment,” he added without elaborating.
The suspect also claimed that he committed the crime as an act of terrorism, police said.
Jammed with shoppers
Takeshita-dori is usually jammed with shoppers on weekends. At the time of the incident, the street was closed to vehicles due to the New Year’s holiday, during which time large crowds arrive at nearby Meiji Shrine.
In carrying out the act, Kusakabe drove from Meiji-dori onto Takeshita-dori. Over a distance of about 140 meters, he struck the eight victims, aged between 19 and 51, before ramming a building, police said.
After fleeing the vehicle, Kusakabe hit a 19-year-old man, causing light injuries. About 30 minutes later, officers took the suspect in for questioning at nearby Yoyogi Park.
An examination of the vehicle revealed a 20-liter plastic container of kerosene and a high-pressure sprayer in the back seat. During questioning, Kusakabe said that he planned to set the vehicle on fire.
Kusakabe said that he was headed to Meiji Shrine. However, the traffic restrictions in place prevented him from reaching that destination.