TOKYO – A man who police said "was tired of life" drove into a crowd of pedestrians Sunday and then went on a stabbing rampage in Tokyo's top electronics and video game district, killing seven people and wounding 10, authorities said.
The deadly lunchtime assault paralyzed the Akihabara neighborhood, which is wildly popular among the country's youth. The killings were the latest in a series of grisly knife attacks that have stoked fears of rising crime in Japan.
A 25-year-old man, Tomohiro Kato, was apprehended in the attack, authorities said.
"The suspect told police that he came to Akihabara to kill people," said Jiro Akaogi, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. "He said he was tired of life. He said he was sick of everything."
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News reports said the man crashed a rented, two-ton truck into pedestrians, then jumped out of the truck and began stabbing the people he'd knocked down before turning on horrified onlookers.
The attacker grunted and roared as he slashed and stabbed at his victims on a street crowded with Sunday shoppers, reports said.
"He was screaming as he was stabbing people at random," a witness told NHK.
A witness told NHK the suspect dropped the knife after police threatened to shoot him. An amateur video filmed by a mobile phone showed policemen overpowering the bespectacled suspect.
Police confirmed seven deaths — six men and one woman — but they could not say whether the victims died from injuries from the truck or were stabbed to death.
At least 17 ambulances rushed to the scene, with TV footage showing rescue workers tending to victims in the street.
Another amateur video taken five minutes after the rampage showed shoppers helping the victims and a man screaming, "Ambulance, Ambulance!" according to NHK.
Akihabara district, known as Electric Town, is wildly popular with Japan's cyber-wise youth.
Once rare, stabbing attacks have become more frequent in Japan in recent years as violent crime has increased.
In March, one person was stabbed to death and at least seven others were hurt by a man who went on a slashing spree with two knives outside a shopping mall in eastern Japan.
In one of the worst attacks, a man with a history of mental illness burst into an elementary school in Japan in 2001 and killed eight children. The killer was executed in 2004.