Japanese police have opened a murder investigation in connection with the killing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – but little is known about the suspect, who was arrested at the scene of the deadly shooting on Friday.
Abe, 67, was pronounced dead by doctors at Nara Medical University Hospital at 5:03 p.m. local time on Friday, just over five hours after he was shot while delivering a campaign speech to a small crowd on a street.
Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, admitted shooting Abe, Nara Nishi police said during a news conference on Friday. Yamagami, who is unemployed, told investigators he hated a particular group he believed Abe was connected to.
The police did not name the group.
Yamagami is being identified as a “murder suspect” in a case police say has 90 investigators assigned.
He was taken to the Nara District Procuratorate on Sunday morning.
The suspect used a homemade gun in the shooting, police said, and pictures from the scene showed a gun with two cylindrical metal barrels wrapped in black tape. Authorities later confiscated several handmade pistol-like items from the suspect’s home.
The gun was a weapon-like object measuring 40 centimeters (about 16 inches) long and 20 centimeters wide, police said.
Yamagami made several types of guns with iron barrels wrapped in duct tape, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported, citing police. Police found guns with three, five, and six iron barrels.
The suspect inserted bullets into his hand-made gun, parts of which he bought online, according to NHK, police said. Police believe the suspect used the most powerful weapon he made in the assassination, NHK added.
The suspect told investigators he originally intended to kill Abe with explosives, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
Yamagami originally planned to assassinate Abe at an event in Okayama, a prefecture about a three-hour drive from Nara, NHK reported.
“I thought about killing the former prime minister there (Okayama), but I saw that there were admission procedures at the entrance and I felt it was going to be difficult to get in,” he told investigators, according to NHK.
Nara police told CNN on Saturday that surveillance footage showed Yamagami exiting Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara on Friday after arriving by train.
At the time of the shooting, Abe was speaking for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates ahead of the July 10 House of Lords election. country’s political landscape and continued to campaign for the LDP.
Japan’s National Police Agency said it will review security arrangements put in place ahead of Friday’s shooting, according to NHK. Security was handled by the Nara Prefectural Police, who prepared a security plan for the former prime minister while he was in town.
The agency said several dozen Tokyo Metropolitan Police officers and security personnel were on duty and reportedly watched Abe from all sides during his speech, NHK said.