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News > World

Japanese Police Arrest Man Suspected of Kyoto Animation Fire

  •  Thirty-three died while attempting to reach the rooftop; another 35 were injured in the fire.

    Thirty-three died while attempting to reach the rooftop; another 35 were injured in the fire. | Photo: EFE

Published 19 July 2019

The 41-year-old suspect from Shinji Aoba claims the studio had plagiarized his work, police say.

Japanese officials say they have arrested one suspect in the tragic Thursday arson attack that killed 33 people in Kyoto. 

Some 100 investigators began the search to find the arsonist behind the merciless aggression. So far, one suspect has been arrested, a 41-year-old artist from Shinji Aoba who claims the studio had plagiarized his work.

In what is being called Japan’s worst mass killing in two decades, 33 people perished in the Kyoto Animation studio after it was set on fire, trapping artists and employees in the building’s stairwell.

Arson Attack in Japan’s Animation Studio Kills 33

Although the suspect made a few preliminary statements after being arrested near the site of the attack, authorities are waiting for him to recover from burns he suffered to begin a formal interrogation.

The fire at Kyoto Animation studio broke out at around 10:30 a.m., Thursday, with around 74 people inside. The 33 victims died while attempting to reach the rooftop. Authorities say they died from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to NHK. The blaze was completely extinguished by around 6:00 a.m., Friday.

Another 35 people were injured by the fire, 10 critically who are being treated.

A hypothesis began to emerge that the fuel used to start the fire was procured at a nearby petrol station, where an unknown man, believed to be the suspect, bought 40 liters of gasoline in two containers previous to the violence.

The suspect walked into the studio's building shouting "Die!" Thursday before splashing flammable liquid and starting the fire, Kyodo News reported, citing local police.

Kyoto Animation's CEO Hideaki Hatta said Thursday he had received threatening emails addressed to the office and sales department, telling them to 'die', NHK reported.

According to different testimonies, the alleged perpetrator had a history of being mentally imbalanced.

Since the attack, the Kyoto animation studio and its associates have received a wealth of support from the public and the anime artists of the world while Kyoto residents continue to visit victims with prayers, flowers and assistance.

A campaign on a fundraising website was launched to help the company recover financially from the tragedy. After just one day, almost US$1.3 million had been raised with many donations in the US$5-$10 range.

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