Suspected shooter barricades himself in Japan post office after 2 wounded at nearby hospital, police say

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A suspected gunman has barricaded himself in a post office in central Japan after two people were wounded and apparent gunshots heard in a hospital nearby, authorities said Tuesday.

The male suspect, believed to be between ages 50 and 70, fled the scene and barricaded himself in the Warabi post office, about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the hospital, according to police.

Toda Mayor Fumihito Sugawara confirmed on social media that a man “suspected of carrying a gun” was barricaded in at the post office and warned residents not to go near the area.

Police were alerted to the incident at 1 p.m. local time and an hour later an eyewitness reported hearing what sounded like more gunfire, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan. The country has one of the world’s lowest rates of gun crime due to its strict laws on firearms ownership.

Last year, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead in Nara city while delivering a campaign speech, in an attack that shocked the nation.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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