JAPAN (Fwrd Axis) — Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is dead after being shot twice at a campaign rally while delivering a speech in the city of Nara.
Abe was bleeding and unresponsive as he was rushed to Medical University Hospital. NHK media reported the former prime minister was not breathing and his heart stopped while being airlifted.
Abe was giving a campaign speech when he was shot around 11:30 a.m. local time. The former prime minister was in a state of “cardiopulmonary arrest”, according to NHK, citing the local fire department. A male suspect, identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, was taken into custody. Yamagami did not run and surrendered peacefully to authorities.
Yamagami’s motive is not yet known.
The former prime minister was speaking while campaigning for other members of the governing Liberal Democratic Party at a rally with the elections for the upper house of the Japanese Parliament being set for Sunday.
Iwao Horii, an LDP member of the upper house was standing next to Abe when the shots occurred.
“We heard two loud sounds while he was talking and he fell immediately after that,” said Horii at a news conference hours earlier. “This is something that shakes the very foundations of democracy and cannot be forgiven.”
Videos making the rounds on social media show the chaotic aftermath of the shooting with Abe laying on the ground with blood on his shirt. Those at the scene said his staff quickly administered CPR to the former prime minister.
Shinzo Abe resigned as prime minister two years ago, citing his ulcerative colitis, a chronic bowel condition, getting worse. He is Japan’s longest-lasting prime minister, serving for a total of eight years.
Gun violence in Japan is very rare. Handguns are banned and individuals must have the training requirements and undergo extensive background checks to obtain a firearm.
Stephen Michael reported from the United States.