Ex-priest, wielding samurai sword, kills priestess sister at prominent Tokyo shrine

A former priest, wielding a samurai sword, killed his Shinto priestess sister before stabbing his accomplice to death and committing suicide in an attack at a prominent Tokyo shrine authorities believe was fueled by a family vendetta.

The priestess’s driver was also injured in the incident.

Nagako Tomioka, the 58-year-old head of Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, was attacked as she got out of her car Thursday night. The assailant, her brother, Shigenara Tomioka, 56, and a female accomplice had been laying in wait, hiding behind her house, police said.

A police officer walks near the scene of a stabbing attack at Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Police say three people have died in the stabbing attack on Thursday night at the prominent shrine, including the head priest and the attacker, who apparently took his own life. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A Shinto priestess was pronounced dead with a “deep” stab wound to her chest along with a laceration to the back of her neck.  (AP)

Nagako was later pronounced dead with a “deep” stab wound to her chest and a laceration on the back of her neck.

Officials said the priest's accomplice attacked Nagako’s driver with a samurai sword and pursued the man as he ran out of the temple grounds and about 300 feet down a road. A trail of splattered blood was still visible on the pavement Friday morning. The driver’s injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

Shigenara is then believed to have killed his accomplice before taking his own life. At least one blood-stained sword and two survival knives were found the scene, local media reported.

Police officers walk near the scene of a stabbing incident at Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Police say three people have died in the stabbing attack on Thursday night at the prominent shrine, including the head priest and the attacker, who apparently took his own life. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Tokyo Metropolitan Police said the motive for the attack was unclear, though Japanese media reported a family feud may have been at fault.  (AP)

Tokyo Metropolitan Police said the motive was unclear, though they noted it was not a random assault. Japanese media reports suggested there may have been a feud between the priestess and her brother.

Shigenaga is said to have once served as a priest at the shrine and the siblings had long quarreled over shrine affairs, Agence France-Presse reported, citing local press.

The nearly 400-year-old Tomioka Hachimangu shrine is known for its close ties to sumo and for holding one of Tokyo's three big Shinto festivals.