‘Bullied’ 19-year-old Japanese police officer shoots senior colleague dead

Police sergeant Akira Imoto, who was shot dead, was in charge of training the junior officer

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 12:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 12:54pm

A Japanese police officer was arrested Thursday for allegedly shooting a colleague dead, a rare fatal gun crime in a country where weapons are strictly regulated.

The 19-year-old suspect, who has not been named, reportedly told authorities he shot Akira Imoto after being verbally bullied by him.

Imoto, 41, was found dead inside a police office in western Japan’s Hikone in the Shiga region on Wednesday evening.

Authorities realised that the dead man’s colleague was missing and began searching for him.

A police car that had run off the road was found near the scene of the crime, a police spokesman said, with local media reporting the suspect had tried to escape in the car.

While at large, the younger officer was apparently carrying his handgun with up to three bullets remaining.

The senior officer is believed to have been shot from behind as he was found in a seated position slumped forward over a desk.

He was still wearing his handgun, which showed no signs of having been used.

The suspect told investigators he shot Imoto because he had been bullied by his colleague, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing unnamed police sources.

“That a police officer committed a murder using a gun that we provided to him is extremely regrettable, and we deeply apologise to the public,” a senior local police officer said with a deep bow Thursday morning in front of TV cameras.

Japan has famously strict gun control regulations and very little gun crime. In 2015, just eight gun crimes were reported nationwide.

Agence France-Presse, Kyodo