A chilling new video has emerged that captures the horrifying moment former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is shot from behind by Tetsuya Yamagami during a political rally at Nara city in Western Japan. The video shows Abe, 67, calmly delivering his speech when the shots are fired back-to-back from almost point-blank range, before the former Prime Minister collapses.
Yamagami was arrested less than five seconds later as he tried to flee the scene. Abe was attended to by paramedics on the street before being airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped. He died a few hours later.
Shot from Point-Blank Range
The video was shot by one of the many rallygoers and later posted on social media. The video shows the 67-year-old political titan calmly delivering a campaign address in the western city of Nara when suddenly a cloud of smoke appears after the boom of an initial shot.
Abe and those around him initially appear a bit confused. The former prime minister even turns around slowly in the direction of the first boom but then again turns back to continue his speech.
Within three seconds another explosion is heard and the second shot is fired, which appears to hit Abe in the back. Abe first stands still for a second then slowly clutches his chest and collapses to the grounds as others around him try to duck and give him cover.
The video then pans to people chasing the alleged shooter, who has been identified as 41-year-old dissatisfied veteran Tetsuya Yamagami. He is seen immediately being tacked by police officers before being arrested.
Other footage shows a shocked silence among those gathered at the rally as emergency services rush to tend to Abe, who was Japan's longest-serving leader.
Several videos and photos of Abe's assassination have been posted online since then. One video from the scene of the tragedy shows several ambulances and emergency response teams trying to rescue Abe.
A photograph showed Abe lying face-up on the street by a guardrail, blood on his white shirt. People were crowded around him, one administering heart massage.
It seems the first bullet missed Abe and no one realized it was a gunshot as none of those around Abe realized that there was a gunman less than 10 feet away, till the second shot is fired.
Police are now investigating Yamagami. Although police have said much about the alleged gunman, Yamagami is reportedly an ex-military member -- a former member of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force -- reported Fuji TV.
According to reports, the head of Japan's hunters' association told NHK that the weapon used in the attack was a self-modified gun. The police had earlier identified the weapon as a shotgun.
Sasaki Yohei of Dainihon Ryoyukai told NHK that the sound of the firing did not match that of a shotgun. Witnesses had reported hearing a "dry, popping sound," said the Japanese media report. Probably, this is the reason Abe and others didn't suspect that there was a gunman standing close by when the first shot was fired.
Yohei added that there was too much smoke left over from the shooting for it to have been an ordinary gun.
Yamagami is currently being questioned at Nara Nishi police station but the motive behind the shooting is still unclear. According to reports, after his arrest, Yamagami told police that he "targeted Abe with the intention of killing him."
Yamagami reportedly also said that he shot Abe because he was "dissatisfied" with Abe and was waiting for this opportunity to shoot him.
Abe's death was announced six hours later, shortly after wife, Akie, arrived at his bedside. His death resulted from excessive blood loss following a cardiac arrest after being hit twice in the chest.
The shooting, which occurred in a nation that takes pride in its low rates of violent crime and has highly strict gun restrictions, is a deeply upsetting episode in the life of Japan's most well-known leader.