Jiji Press OTSU (Jiji Press) — Police arrested a 19-year-old patrol officer in the small hours of Thursday for allegedly shooting to death his boss at a police box in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture.
The suspect admitted the charges of killing the 41-year-old sergeant, Akira Imoto, by shooting him in the head at around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday in the police box, investigative sources said.
According to the Shiga prefectural police in Otsu, officers of the Hikone station found Imoto slumped forward over a desk and his head and back bleeding at the police box in front of JR Kawase Station on the Tokaido Line. He was confirmed dead at a hospital.
The officers came to the police box at around 8:45 p.m. the same day, after receiving an emergency call saying that a police car had been shoved into a rice paddy in Aisho, near Hikone.
The patrol officer, one of three staffers of the police box, who had been on duty with Imoto since Wednesday morning, was missing with his handgun.
Suspecting that the disappeared officer shot Imoto from behind twice while the older officer was seated and fled, the Shiga police began a search and arrested him near a railroad crossing in Aisho, some 4 kilometers south of the police box, at around 1:35 a.m. Thursday.
The gun was found in a paddy about 600 meters from the stuck police car, with three of the five bullets remaining, after the junior officer told the police that he had thrown it away.
The suspect was hired by the prefectural police in April last year and assigned to the Hikone station in January this year. He had worked at the police box under Imoto since March 26, the police said, adding that there was no apparent trouble between the two.
Prefectural police administration chief Hitoshi Takeda told a press conference that the incident was “extremely regrettable.”
“I deeply apologize to the bereaved family and people in the prefecture,” he said.
At a separate news conference in Tokyo, National Police Agency Commissioner General Shunichi Kuryu said there had never been a case in which a law-enforcement officer killed a fellow officer with a gun that was supplied to carry out official duties.