Crime Elderly Japan

Saitama hostage standoff suspect intended to commit suicide, blames physician for mother’s death

The suspect has told investigators that he was thinking of killing himself, the doctor and other staffers. The suspect was quoted by investigative sources as saying he was angry at the quality of his mother's care by the medical team.

By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from Jiji, Kyodo via The Japan Times

January 29 2022

SAITAMA – A man who was arrested after a deadly 11-hour hostage standoff that ended Friday in Fujimino had been telling police officers during the standoff that the hostage was alright, but the police now suspect he was lying.

The Saitama Prefectural Police sent the man, 66, to public prosecutors Saturday after upgrading the charge against him from attempted murder to murder.

He has suggested that he intended to kill himself and his mother’s doctor, who he blamed for her death, the sources said.

In the incident, the 44-year-old doctor, Junichi Suzuki, was shot in the chest and later confirmed dead, while a 41-year-old physical therapist at Suzuki’s clinic was seriously wounded.

The suspect’s 92-year-old mother had been using the clinic’s home care service until she died Wednesday. On Thursday evening, the doctor and six other staff members from the clinic visited the suspect’s home in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture, at his request.

The suspect requested that the medical workers visit to pay condolences to his mother. But when they arrived he asked them to perform a cardiac massage on her even though she had been dead for more than a day, investigative sources said Sunday. After Suzuki carefully explained why he wouldn’t give her a cardiac massage, the suspect took out a shotgun and fired it at least three times, the sources said.

According to the sources, the suspect has told investigators that he was thinking of killing himself, the doctor and other staffers. The suspect was quoted by investigative sources as saying he was angry at the quality of his mother’s care by the medical team.

Sources of a local medical association said the suspect had called the association around 15 times, complaining of Suzuki’s medical treatment policies for his mother. He also made complaints at several other medical facilities where his mother had been treated.

The suspect fired the shotgun inside his house at around 9 p.m. Thursday and took the doctor hostage. He was seized after police stormed the home Friday morning.

The doctor was known as a pioneer of home-visit medical care in the area, according to a health care manager who works in the city.

A third medical worker, who was also taken to a hospital after being injured with tear gas spray, took the shotgun from the suspect and escaped from the home, the police said.

The suspect owned two shotguns, which he obtained legally in 2000 and 2008, ostensibly for hunting. The certifications were renewed in November 2020.

According to neighbors, the suspect was living with his bedridden mother and had little contact with residents in the area.

“I got the impression he was really devoted to caring for his mother,” said a 74-year-old woman.

The suspect moved to the area with his mother several years ago, a 91-year-old man in the neighborhood said. He recalled the suspect saying he could not join in community activities because he had to take care of his mother.

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