Shinzo Abe shot at with homemade gun, in 'cardiac arrest'. What we know so far
The broadcaster aired footage showing Abe collapsed on the street, with several security guards running toward him.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was critically shot in the city of Nara during a campaign speech on Friday morning. The suspected shooter, a male reported to be in his 40s, has been arrested and police are questioning him in connection with the incident, news agencies reported quoting local media. The attack came as a shock to the island nation which is considered one of the world's safest with some of the strictest gun laws.
"Former prime minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 am," in the country's western region of Nara, chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who returned to Tokyo with his Cabinet ministers, said in a televised address, “I am hoping that Abe will survive,” adding that medical professionals were doing their best to save him.
“For this to happen during an election, which is the foundation of democracy is unforgivable. I condemn it.”
How the scene unfolded?
Japanese broadcasters said that Abe was shot twice from behind about 10 feet away while he was addressing supporters during a campaign for upper house election in the western city of Nara. The videos aired by NHK showed what appeared to be gun smoke coming from behind the former PM before he collapsed. A man was tackled by security personnel on the street and was taken into custody soon afterward.
A witness told NHK that the first shot “sounded like a toy” and Abe didn't fall, reported AFP. Moments after “there was a large bang” with the second shot “more visible”, she added. "You could see the spark and smoke."
"After the second shot, people surrounded him and gave him cardiac massage."
What do we know about Shinzo Abe's condition?
Abe collapsed soon after an apparent gun shot was heard and was bleeding from the neck, reported a local Jiji news agency quoting a source from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. While there has been no official confirmation on the health condition of former Japanese prime minister, initial reports suggested that his condition was critical.
A local fire department official said that Abe was in cardio and pulmonary arrest, or CPA, which means he was not breathing and suffered heart failure while he was being airlifted to a hospital, according to Associated Press. In Japan, the term is generally used by officials to describe situations where a person is no longer alive but a formal declaration is yet to be made.
An official at Nara Medical University hospital declined to comment on his condition saying "what we can share now is that his transfer here has been completed," reported AFP.
(Compiled from AFP, AP, Bloomberg)