At least 33 people have been killed and several other injured after a man screaming “You die!” burst into an animation studio in the Japanese city of Kyoto, doused it with a flammable liquid and set it on fire on Thursday.
Firefighters found 33 bodies, 20 of them on the third floor and some on the stairs to the roof, where they apparently collapsed, Kyoto fire official Kazuhiro Hayashi said. Two were found dead on the first floor, 11 others on the second floor, he said.
Most of the victims were said to be employees of Kyoto Animation, which does work on feature films and TV productions but is best known for its mega-hit stories featuring high school girls. The stories are so popular that some of the places depicted have become pilgrimage sites for fans.
Officials said 35 people had been injured in the fire, 10 of whom were in serious condition, and local media said around 70 people were believed to have been in the building when the fire started.
Police identified the suspect who was injured and taken to a hospital as a 41-year-old man who was not a company employee.
A witness who saw the attacker being approached by police told Japanese networks that the man admitted spreading gasoline and setting the fire with a lighter. She told NHK public television that the man had burns on his arms and legs and was angrily complaining that something of his had been “stolen,” possibly by the company.
NHK footage also showed sharp knives police had collected from the scene, though it was not clear if they belonged to the attacker. Survivors said he was screaming “You die!” as he dumped the liquid, according to Japanese media. They said some of the survivors got splashed with the liquid.