A chilling video has emerged that captures the shocking moment when Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot from point-blank range by Tetsuya Yamagami, while his oblivious security guards desperately tried to block bullets with their briefcases, but to no avail. The incident happened so fast that Abe's bodyguards looked both clueless and helpless.
Abe, 67, was shot dead on Friday while he was delivering a campaign speech in Nara city around 11:30 am in Western Japan. Cameras trained on Abe captured the horrifying moment when the 41-year-old gunman, Yamagami, fired the first shot which produced a loud bang before he fired the second shot that hit Abe, while his bodyguards ducked and tried to use their briefcases as shields.
Desperate Effort to Save Abe
The chilling final few seconds before Abe collapses on the ground after being fatally shot by Yamagami from a few feet away shows the helpless of everyone around him, including his security guards.
The video shows Abe delivering his speech. Yamagami can't be seen in the frame. Things change all of a sudden. While Abe is seen standing on the podium for what seems like an eternity but is actually only a few seconds as confused guards, who were all gazing at him while he delivered his campaign speech, turn around to confirm what is occurring just in time to miss it.
The first shot didn't hit Abe but produced a loud bang and a puff of smoke. Everyone was surprised including the bodyguards who turn back but didn't realize was had happened.
Panicked, they try to put themselves between Abe and 41-year-old gunman Tetsuya Yamagami, with one even flinging his briefcase in a lame attempt to stop what they all know is coming.
Before the second fatal shot is fired, Abe turned as well, and it's possible that he briefly saw the gunman. However, everyone then turns back and as Abe was about to start speaking again, within another three seconds the second shot is fired. This time, however, the security guards release what had happened.
Bullets rip into Abe neck and chest before burrowing into his heart, causing the front of his shirt to tremble.
However, Abe doesn't collapse immediately. He first stumbles off the stump and falls to his knees before slumping over. Guards rush to his side, and later pictures reveal how they started applying chest compressions in an unsuccessful effort to revive him. He had massive blood loss and died a few hours later in the hospital.
Last Few Seconds
The final few seconds between the time the first and second gunshot is fired prove that neither the police nor Abe's personal bodyguards were prepared. It is not known if the ones standing just behind them were carrying guns but their desperate bid to save themselves and Abe by using the suitcases tells a different story.
The camera then cuts and pans to the right where another couple of security guards are seen chasing Yamagami, who is tackled immediately and taken into custody. 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.
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."
According to police, Yamagami allegedly gathered an armory of homemade weapons similar to the one used in the attack at his home, as well as a number of explosives that have been removed and destroyed.
Although it is unclear how exactly he learned to make the weapons. Maybe his prior profession came in handy given that he is a former member of the nation's armed forces and served in the navy from 2002 to 2005.
Yamagami, who is unemployed at the moment, took a train to Nara and waited there for Abe to begin his address before unleashing the attack. Police did not say how long he waited.
A photograph taken just moments before Abe was assassinated shows Yamagami - an unassuming figure in a green t-shirt and cargo trousers - loitering just behind him.
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.
Abe was Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister, having held the position for nine years over a period of two terms.