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At least 19 dead in knife attack outside Tokyo, Japanese news agency reports

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 21:58:08-04

SAGAMIHARA, Japan — At least 19 people were killed and 26 injured in a stabbing attack at a facility for disabled people west of Tokyo, making it one of Japan’s deadliest mass killings since World War II.

Officer Satomi Kurihara of the Sagamihara Fire Department confirmed the death toll at the Tsukui Yamayurien facility in Sagamihara, a quiet residential area approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the capital.

Police said they received a call from an employee of the facility reporting the attack about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday (1:30 p.m. ET Monday), according to state broadcaster NHK.

About 30 minutes later, a man believed to be in his 20s turned himself in at the Sagamihara police station, according to the report. He allegedly told police that he was a former employee of the facility.

The incident sent shock waves through Japan, where mass killings are rare. Because gun ownership is highly restricted, mass stabbings tend to be more common, CNN’s Paula Hancocks said.

In June 2001, eight children were killed when a former janitor entered an Ikeda elementary school in Osaka and began stabbing students at random.

In June 2008, a man ran over a group of people with his truck and then stabbed 18, killing seven, in Tokyo’s famous Akihabara gaming district.

The last time Sagamihara made global headlines was in 2012 when Naoko Kikuchi, a member of the Japanese doomsday cult responsible for the 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway, was arrested there.