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Alleged Japan Arsonist: 'They Ripped Me Off'

Witness overhears his complaint to police as death toll rises to 33
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2019 11:16 AM CDT
Firefighters work as 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) – It's "too appalling even for words," says Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He was referring to the alleged arson at an anime studio in Kyoto that has taken the lives of at least 33 people so far. More than 30 others were injured, some critically. Here is what is currently known about the fire:

  • The suspect: He is identified only as a 41-year-old male. Police say he doused the three-story Kyoto Animation studio with gasoline (or some other accelerant) and set it ablaze, reports the BBC. Authorities say he is not an employee of the studio. The suspect, who suffered burns to his arms and legs in the fire, shouted something like, "You die!" as he dumped the accelerant, say witnesses.
  • The motive: Police have not provided details. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports that a woman who lives near the studio heard him telling police, "They ripped me off." She had been helping the injured man, unaware he might have been the arsonist. The AP has something similar, reporting that a woman told a Japanese TV station that he complained something had been "stolen" from him.

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