Man who killed 7 in Tokyo left online warnings

TOKYO: The final, chilling posting read, "It's time." A 25-year-old man, who went on a killing rampage in a popular shopping street in central Tokyo on Sunday, wrote a series of messages on an online bulletin board using his cellphone in the hours before the attack, the authorities said Monday.

In a thread titled "I will kill people in Akihabara," the attacker, identified by the police as Tomohiro Kato, an auto parts worker, described his intention of using his vehicle and knife to kill people in the central Tokyo district, a center for electronics and a magnet for fans of Japanese animé and manga comics.

The first message was sent at 5:21 a.m. on Sunday. Other postings followed in which Kato described leaving his home just west of Tokyo, heading to the capital and worrying that rain could hamper his plans. He wrote about arriving in Akihabara at 11:45 a.m., before adding his final posting at 12:10 p.m.

Twenty minutes later he plowed his rental truck into a crowd of pedestrians before stabbing passers-by with a survival knife. Seven people died and 11 were injured.

The killings stunned a country that has long enjoyed low crime rates but where a series of random stabbings have recently occurred.

Kato was living by himself in a small apartment in Shizuoka, west of Tokyo. According to reports in the Japanese news media, Kato told the police that he had grown tired of life, "hated the world," and had gone to Akihabara to kill people. "Anyone was O.K.," he told the police, according to the reports.

Japanese television showed the police holding Kato on the ground after the attack. He was dressed in a black T-shirt, off-white trousers and jacket, and was wearing sneakers.

The police said the attack began around 12:30 p.m., when Kato drove a white, two-ton rental truck into the street in a zigzag pattern, hitting several people. He then got out of the truck and began yelling and stabbing passers-by, including a police officer.

Japanese television, displaying images captured on cellphones by witnesses, showed bodies scattered in the area. The authorities were seen trying to revive several victims. Six men and one woman, ranging in age from 19 to 74, died, the authorities said.

On Monday, Japanese newspapers published a handwritten description Kato wrote of himself in his junior high school graduation yearbook. In English, he wrote that he liked the video games "Tales of Destiny" and "Grand Turismo." He also described his personality as "crooked."

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