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Dozens Killed in Arson at Animation Studio

Kyoto suspect shouted 'Drop dead!'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2019 2:45 AM CDT
Updated Jul 18, 2019 6:10 AM CDT
Smoke billows from a three-story building of Kyoto Animation in a fire in Kyoto, western Japan, Thursday, July 18, 2019.   (Kyodo News via AP)
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(Newser) – At least 26 people were killed and dozens more injured in a suspected arson attack at one of Japan's most famous anime studios Thursday morning. Police say a man "threw a liquid and set fire to it" in the attack at the Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building, AFP reports. At least 36 people were injured, some of them critically, reports the BBC. The suspect, a 41-year-old man, was injured in the attack and was arrested after he was taken to a hospital, the Guardian reports. Police say he admitted starting the fire. The studio, known as "KyoAni," produces well-known Japanese TV shows including K-ON and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Survivors who saw the suspect told local media that he was not one of their colleagues.

According to reports in local media, the man shouted a remark translated as "You die!" or "Drop dead!" before throwing the liquid. "There was an explosion, then I heard people shouting, some asking for help," a witness told TBS TV, per the AP. "Black smoke was rising from windows on upper floors, then there was a man struggling to crawl out of the window." Police say rescuers are still searching the three-story building, which was devastated by the fire. Kyoto fire department official Kazuhiro Hayashi says some victims were found on the stairs, where they apparently collapsed while trying to flee to the roof. The Guardian notes that this ranks among the deadliest mass murders in Japan since the end of World War II. (Read more Japan stories.)

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